Dodgers News: Kenta Maeda Moved To Bullpen, Rotation Set For Reds Series
Jeff Roberson-AP Photo

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts set his starting rotation for the weekend series with the Cincinnati reds, and it has Kenta Maeda pitching out of the bullpen.

Rich Hill takes the ball Friday, Alex Wood is expected to return from the disabled list on Saturday, and Hyun-Jin Ryu starts Sunday. Maeda will piggyback with Hill or Wood.

It’ll mark his first time pitching in relief since doing so in one game for the Hiroshima Carp nine seasons ago in what was Maeda’s first year.

“He’s open to it, and it’s a credit to him as a teammate,” Roberts said. He called the move temporary and said the Dodgers are going with a five-man rotation that gives the team the “best chance to win right now.”

Maeda has struggled since throwing a career-high 8.1 innings on May 10. He landed on the disabled list due to hamstring tightness the following day.

Though, there may have been an element of roster manipulation as it allowed for the Dodgers to activate and start Ryu. Maeda has failed to surpass five innings in three starts since coming off the DL.

Following Maeda’s start on Sunday, Roberts expressed some frustration and bewilderment over the right-hander’s prolonged troubles this season. Overall, the 29-year-old has completed five innings or less in eight of 10 starts this season.

Along with his inability to pitch deep into games, Maeda owns a 10.80 ERA in the first inning. Despite the lack of length, the Dodgers are 7-3 in Maeda’s starts.

Subpar performance led to Ryu suffering a similar fate last month. He threw three scoreless innings and earned a save in his first career relief appearance. Ryu entered in relief of Maeda, who had allowed three runs on seven hits to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ryu was placed back in the rotation because of an injury to Wood, and he’s been much improved. Now Maeda will wait for his potential path to redemption.