Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Explains Chin-Hui Tsao’s Absence
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After using Mike Bolsinger in a spot start last week to provide the starting rotation with an extra day of rest during the 20-games-in-20-days stretch, the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Oklahoma City and called up Chin-Hui Tsao.

With Tsao on the active roster, it gave the Dodgers an eight-man bullpen, which they previously used this season, though typically avoid carrying that many relievers. Manager Dave Roberts indicated on Friday the club would stick with the arrangement through Wednesday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.

The decision was in response to Dodgers starting pitchers not named Clayton Kershaw struggling to complete more than five innings. Tsao threw one scoreless inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, then was on the mound for the San Diego Padres’ walk-off win on Saturday.

He entered in the 11th inning and gave up a leadoff single before retiring the next two batters. However, the wheels then came off as he walked the next two batters to load the bases, and walked a third to score the winning run.

As the Dodgers and Padres played to 17 innings on Sunday at Petco Park and Roberts cycled through relievers, Tsao remained positioned in the dugout for the entirety of the game. The Dodgers’ first-year manager revealed after the marathon win that the right-hander was unavailable, per Andy McCullough of the LA Times:

He indicated Tsao had reported “some soreness,” though it was unclear what part of his body felt sore. That led to another question: Why was an injured, mostly ineffective pitcher not either sent back to the minors or placed on the disabled list?

“He was evaluated this morning,” Roberts said. “Came in and didn’t feel right. With the day game, it’s hard to get somebody in from Oklahoma City in time.”

With Tsao unavailable, Ross Stripling, Tuesday’s scheduled starter, was forced into action. Stripling threw three scoreless innings, earning a win, but he’s now unable to make his next turn.

With limited options in the Minors — based on scheduled starts and 40-man roster status — Tsao’s injury could lend to a stint on the disabled list that allows the Dodgers to recall Bolsinger. Bolsinger is scheduled to start Monday for Oklahoma City.