A true story: Dodgers put Stephen Fife on DL, call up Matt Magill

Dodgers starting pitcher Stephen Fife made his debut last Sunday against the Orioles last week, giving up seven hits and four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)
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At some point maybe you laugh, but forgive the Dodgers if they’re not in a particularly laughing mood.

Still, the situation is so absolutely ridiculous, that might be the best medicine.

The Dodgers, the team that actually started the season with a wealth of starting pitching, is almost inexplicably in desperate need of a starter.

That’s right, yet another starter has gone down. It’s true. This time Stephen Fife was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the Brewers and placed on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder bursitis.


To fill in for Fife -- who was filling in for Chad Billingsley -- the Dodgers called up right-hander Matt Magill from triple-A Albuquerque.

Magill wasn’t exactly on the Dodgers’ radar this spring, but when you have a surplus of starting pitching, you can be forgiven for not taking a hard look at a 23-year-old ticketed for triple A.

In four starts this season for the Isotopes, Magill, a 2008 31st-round draft pick from Simi Valley Royal High, was 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.

Magill will be the ninth starting pitcher used by the Dodgers in their first 23 games. The team used nine different starters all of last season. Come on, you have to laugh a little.

Even for a team that started the season better prepared than any other for potential rotation woes, this is a bit crazy. Of course, the crazy types do tend to laugh a lot.

Fife had started only one game in his replacement role – starters already on the DL are Zack Greinke, Chris Capuano and Billingsley – and then felt his shoulder tighten up on the flight Sunday from Baltimore to New York.


Magill, who will be making his major league debut Saturday, had his start Monday cut short at four innings just in case Fife could not go. And of course he couldn’t.

Capuano had suffered a strained calf April 16, when he made it through just two innings in his only start in place of Greinke . . . who, five days earlier, had suffered a broken left collarbone in a fight with San Diego’s Carlos Quentin, who charged the mound after being hit by a pitch.

Greinke is expected to be out another six weeks. Capuano is expected back during the May 6-8 series against Arizona. But by then 13 more starters may have gone down.