When the Los Angeles Dodgers began Spring Training last month there were multiple questions surrounding the starting rotation, lineup, bench and bullpen. Essentially one month after players reported to camp, much of those questions remain.
As the competition to round out the rotation presses on, there was some clarity with news of Brock Stewart being shut down due to tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. Stewart was among the seven pitchers vying for one of the two spots in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Albeit facing an uphill battle, Ross Stripling was thought to be in the conversation as well. But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the right-hander is competing for a role out of the bullpen, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Roberts said Ross Stripling is in the mix for bullpen spot.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 13, 2017
While Stripling may be squeezed out of the rotation, working as a reliever is a role he’s familiar with. Appearing in 22 games with the Dodgers last season, Stripling pitched out of the bullpen in eight games as a means to limit his workload. He yielded a 2.22 ERA as a reliever, compared to a 4.52 ERA as a starter.
In four relief appearances this spring, Stripling has allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings pitched.
The Dodgers figure to have some combination of right-handed relievers Josh Fields, Chris Hatcher, Sergio Romo and Stripling in their bullpen come Opening Day. Pedro Baez may also factor in, though he’s been shut down with a right thumb injury.