In the midst of playing 14 consecutive games without an off day, the Los Angeles Dodgers unsurprisingly elected to utilize a bullpen game to give their starting rotation an extra day of rest.
Unexpected, however, was that Edwin Uceta served as the spot starter. He joined the Dodgers on Thursday as a corresponding roster move to Brusdar Graterol being placed on the 10-day injured list due to right forearm tightness.
Uceta was informed Friday morning he was tasked with being the first of several relief pitchers that would be needed to piece a game together. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hoped to get multiple innings out of the right-hander, and he accomplished that by going two frames.
“I felt really good. Obviously I misfired a couple pitches and didn’t feel as great as I would’ve liked, but it was also very exciting and a great experience to make my debut,” Uceta said after the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss.
“Going into the first inning I was a little bit nervous. But after that first pitch I felt pretty relaxed out there.”
Of the four hits Uceta allowed, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run home run had the biggest impact. It came one batter after the 23-yer-old collected his first career strikeout. There was a brief positive by Uceta before throwing the baseball to the dugout.
“I knew about it but I wasn’t really focused on that,” he said of ensuring the memento was preserved. “So when I got the ball it kind of took me a while to pause and then throw it out.”
Roberts proud of Uceta
With the Dodgers coming up on the losing end of another game in large part because of their continued offensive struggles, Roberts praised Uceta for his effort. “I’m sure there were some nerves,” he said.
“I don’t think his changeup showed the way it normally does. He had a couple punchouts, which was good in two innings. He just made a mistake to Jackie with the first pitch, ambush fastball. Outside of that it was a fine debut.”
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