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Dodgers return Trayce Thompson to minors to clear roster spot for Rich Hill

Outfielder Trayce Thompson is 0 for 21 batting between triple-A Oklahoma City and the Dodgers this season.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)
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Trayce Thompson will take his hitless streak back to Oklahoma City.

The Dodgers returned the outfielder to their triple-A team Sunday. They needed a roster spot for pitcher Rich Hill, who was activated from the disabled list to start Sunday’s game.

Thompson is hitless in 21 at-bats this season, with nine strikeouts. He is 0 for 13 at Oklahoma City and 0 for 8 with the Dodgers.

He had an abbreviated spring training, with the Dodgers easing him into action this season after last season was cut short because of two stress fractures in his back. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said Thompson needs to play every day.

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But Roberts also said the Dodgers sent down an outfielder so as to have an extra pitcher in reserve should Hill’s blister recur. The Dodgers played Sunday’s game with eight relief pitchers and a four-man bench — with one of those bench players, second baseman Logan Forsythe, expected to be limited to pinch-hitting because of hamstring tightness.

The Dodgers hope to activate outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) as soon as next weekend, Roberts said.

When the Dodgers acquired Hill from the Oakland Athletics last July, he was on the disabled list because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The Dodgers activated him last August, the blister came back after one start, and it returned after one start this season.

Roberts said the Dodgers do not believe Hill’s availability will be on a start-by-start basis this year, but he also said the team has been unable to solve the blister issue.

“We’ve talked to a lot of different people that have issues with that outside of our game, and we just can’t pinpoint it,” Roberts said. “We’re going to continue to try. We don’t have an answer.”

The Dodgers signed Hill, now 37, to a three-year, $48-million contract last December.

Roberts also said he expected Forsythe to return to the lineup Monday. Forsythe left Saturday’s game because of tightness in his right hamstring.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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