Less than 24 hours after revealing a decision was down to Carlos Frias or Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Stripling the club’s fifth starter.
Stripling was summoned Friday morning from Camelback Ranch to Los Angeles by director of player development Gabe Kapler.
At the time, Kapler told Stripling a decision had yet to be made. Upon arriving at Dodger stadium, the right-hander met with Roberts, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, and the group broke the good news.
“Everyone always says it goes by so fast, and it really does,” Stripling said when asked if his vision of the moment matches reality.
“Nothing has even happened yet and it’s already gone by incredibly fast. I was late to stretch on my first day because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have a hat, I didn’t know if we were in pants or shorts. I was running around.”
The Dodgers’ fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft, has yet to pitch above Double-A. He missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. This spring, Stripling had a 4.09 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 11 strikeouts to four walks over 11 innings pitched in four games (three relief appearances; one start).
Roberts cited Stripling’s arsenal of pitches as reason the club went with the rookie over a more experienced Frias and slightly more experienced Lee. “It was tough. I think all three guys are more than capable, but I think overall, it was Ross’ ability to command a fastball, have a good curveball, plus changeup and also a slider,” Roberts said.
“He has weapons and when you couple that with a game plan, it gives us the best chance to win on that fifth day.” Given Stripling is coming off a season in which he only threw 71.1 innings, Roberts said the club will keep him on an innings limit throughout the season. Stripling is rolling with the plan, though believes his arm is stronger now than it was when Spring Training began.