The Dodgers swapped right-handers with triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday, recalling Dennis Santana from the minor league affiliate and optioning Brock Stewart. The move comes after the Dodgers used six of their eight relievers Friday and five Saturday in wins to begin their three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
Santana is a starter the Dodgers will use as a long man out of the bullpen as they did with Stewart. The 27-year-old Stewart stumbled in the role, giving up eight runs in four innings across three appearances. His demotion marks the 17th time Stewart has been optioned from the majors to the minors since 2016.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers chose Stewart over Santana for the long-man relief role to start the season because Santana, who missed most of last season because of a rotator-cuff injury, wasn’t stretched out enough to effectively handle the workload.
“To put a young player in a potential long inning, we didn’t feel comfortable with that,” Roberts said before the Dodgers’ series finale at Coors Field Sunday. “So for him to build up into the season, there was a couple more weeks that he had a chance to build up. We feel better about the role.”
Santana, who turns 23 next week, is the Dodgers’ No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America. He made his major league debut in relief in Colorado last June in a unique situation; the Dodgers started the game with a reliever, Scott Alexander, partly as a way to ease Santana into his first outing.
Santana entered the game after the first inning and gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings. He was scheduled to make his first start against the Pittsburgh Pirates six days later but injured his shoulder in the bullpen minutes before the game. He was placed on the injured list with a strained rotator cuff and missed the remainder of the season.
Santana joined the Dodgers after not appearing in a game for Oklahoma City. He said he threw two innings of live batting practice on Tuesday and was slated to start for Oklahoma City on Monday. Instead, he was back in the majors on Sunday, giving up a run in 2 2/3 innings.
Kershaw to pitch in Tulsa
Clayton Kershaw will make his second rehab start Tuesday for double-A Tulsa. The choice was between pitching for Oklahoma City in Omaha or for Tulsa at home. Kershaw was Oklahoma City’s opening-day starter on Thursday. He gave up two runs in 4 1/3 innings against the San Antonio Missions. He will face the Springfield Cardinals — the St. Louis Cardinals’ double-A affiliate — on Tuesday.
If Kershaw emerges healthy from Tuesday’s outing, he could pitch for the Dodgers on regular rest Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. Should Kershaw come off the injured list Sunday, Julio Urias, who made his second start Sunday in Colorado, will likely start on Friday. Kershaw’s return would move Urias to the bullpen.
Cingrani progressing in Arizona
Roberts said Tony Cingrani has been stretched out to 120 feet and is pain-free as he recovers from a left-shoulder impingement in Arizona. Cingrani, 29, was shut down for two weeks during spring training after tossing four scoreless innings in four Cactus League games. The same shoulder injury limited him to 30 appearances for the Dodgers last season.