Caleb Ferguson began the 2019 MLB season part of his first Opening Day roster and again filling a role out of the bullpen. Since making his debut with three consecutive starts last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers have primarily used the left-hander as a relief pitcher.
Ferguson was called on for a spot start in a bullpen game in April, but otherwise has made his 12 other appearances from the bullpen. Ferguson’s last outing was a rocky one, as he failed to retire any of the three batters faced and exited with the bases loaded.
Ferguson landed on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique issue the following day. The Dodgers considered it a minor injury and ‘best-case scenario,’ but a timetable was not given.
After resuming throwing and building up to a simulated game, Ferguson began a rehab assignment. He’s now due to be activated for the weekend series against Cincinnati Reds, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Roberts said left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson will be activated on Friday in Cincinnati to face the lefty-heavy Reds lineup after completing his rehab assignment with a scoreless inning on Monday night with OKC.
Ferguson threw one scoreless inning each for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He struck out two and issued a walk in his appearance for the Quakes, and had one strikeout while working around a hit and walk for Oklahoma City.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously indicated the plan for Ferguson — and Tony Cingrani — was to pitch one-plus inning while on rehab.
Overall this season, Ferguson is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA, 6.25 FIP and 1.69 WHIP in 13 games for the Dodgers. He began with 6.1 scoreless innings in his first seven appearances to open the year. Roberts wasn’t certain but allowed for the possibility Ferguson may have attempted to pitch through his oblique trouble.
“If you look at the radar gun, it’s been very consistent. But then now you kind of layer in execution or mechanics, and that’s where the issues have been for me,” Roberts recently said. “He’s got great stuff, good competitor. But when you hit a right-hander with a breaking ball, things like that just don’t add up with what he’s capable of doing.”
Ferguson’s return will require the Dodgers to shuffle the deck in their bullpen. One option, perhaps the most likely, is optioning JT Chargois back to Oklahoma City.
Chargois joined the team as a corresponding move to Julio Urias being placed on a seven-day administrative leave amid MLB’s investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident.