In what could be his final test before rejoining the Dodgers rotation, Rich Hill is scheduled to pitch a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Hill has not pitched in a game since May 19, when a blister on his left middle finger ruptured two pitches into a game against Washington.
The Dodgers expect Hill to pitch four or five innings for the Quakes. If Hill completes the outing without damaging his finger, he could return to the rotation for next week’s series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Dodgers decided against activating him to pitch in relief, manager Dave Roberts said before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers.
The team is gradually returning starting pitchers from the disabled list. Kenta Maeda was activated to start Wednesday. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu have begun throwing bullpen sessions, although both are weeks away from a return. Shut down Tuesday, Walker Buehler will likely miss a couple weeks because of a microfractured rib cage.
With so many pitchers on the shelf, it is difficult for the Dodgers to plan ahead. Ross Stripling will start Friday against San Francisco, with Alex Wood receiving an extra day of rest so he can start Sunday. Rookie Caleb Ferguson could start again Sunday; Ferguson was not optioned to the minors to make room for Maeda. The Dodgers instead optioned reliever Daniel Corcino to triple-A Oklahoma City. Corcino completed a three-inning save during Tuesday’s victory over Texas.
Wood (1-5, 4.43 earned-run average) is amid a rough patch. He has given up 10 runs, two of them unearned, across 6 2/3 innings in his last two starts. He is dealing with cramping issues in his left hamstring. Roberts insisted the organization is not concerned about Wood’s health.
“There are some things he’s been dealing with this month,” Roberts said. “But over the course of the last four or five days, he’s trended in the right way. He’s close to 100%. For me, it’s just more of being encouraged by the progression.
“He’s trending in the right direction. So, no, not concerned. Just mechanically, just making sure that he’s consistent with his delivery and executing pitches like he can.”