Dodgers News: Jose De Leon’s Future In Starting Rotation Tied To Scott Kazmir
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE (Sept. 7, 5:35 p.m. PT): Scott Kazmir was removed in the first inning of his rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City. That conceivably cracks the door open for Jose De Leon.

While the Los Angeles Dodgers conclude their six-game homestand Wednesday night, the playoff game between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Nashville Sounds (Oakland Atheltics affiliate) will have implications on the future of Jose De Leon and Scott Kazmir.

The 32-year-old southpaw is expected to throw 90 pitches or six innings in his rehab start with Oklahoma City. Kazmir has been on the 15-day disabled list with neck inflammation since Aug. 23.

He became the Dodgers’ 27th different player put on the DL this season, matching the Major League record set by the Boston Red Sox in 2012. How Kazmir fares will determine when, or whether, De Leon returns to the Dodgers’ rotation.

“It’s up in the air because of Kazmir. Obviously, Jose threw the ball well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday.

“Depending on how [Kazmir’s rehab start] goes, there’s some things up in the air. Jose did a lot for himself to reinforce that confidence we have in him. We’ll see.”

De Leon made his Major League debut on Sunday, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits over six innings.

De Leon’s nine strikeouts finished one shy of matching the Los Angeles franchise record set by Pedro Astacio (1992) and Kazuhisa Ishii (2002) for most strikeouts in an MLB debut.

Roberts previously stated Kazmir would join the club for their series with the New York Yankees (Sept. 12-14) if all went in his rehab start.

That start presumably would go to De Leon if Kazmir is unavailable. Or, Julio Urias, who was skipped over in the current rotation turn and placed in the bullpen, could again be called on for a spot start.

Including De Leon, the Dodgers have used a rookie starter the past three games. They’re doing so again on Wednesday with Ross Stripling, and are riding a four-game winning streak.

The string of rookies will end Friday with Clayton Kershaw’s return. Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda are expected to follow Kershaw in the series against the Miami Marlins.

Of course, with how the season has gone, mapping out the rotation beyond the next day’s game has often proven to be a fool’s task.