Dodgers To Stick With 4-Man Starting Rotation For Time Being
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned Julio Urias to Triple-A Oklahoma City and recalled Austin Barnes, leaving the club with just four starting pitchers on the active roster.

Urias’ spot-start against the Washington Nationals on Thursday came as a surprise and in response to Hyun-Jin Ryu landing on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left elbow. Urias had been sent down to work as a starter and reliever for Oklahoma City in a means to curtail his workload.

Along with their desire to monitor Urias’ innings, Los Angeles swapping a starter for position player hardly came as a surprise when also considering the current stretch in the schedule.

With off-days on July 25 and 28, and Aug. 1, the Dodgers technically do not need a fifth starting pitcher until Aug. 6. As such, manager Dave Roberts said the club intends to stick with a four-man rotation, via Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA:

“That’s the plan right now, I don’t know if we’ll bring another guy (up). I know it’s not going to be Julio (Urias) if we go with a fifth guy. There are off-days, so we’ll stand pat with four. But things could change. Obviously, we have some guys who potentially can make that start for us after the Tampa series.”

Passing over the opportunity to provide their rotation with an extra day or two of rest goes against the strategy the Dodgers have used thus far deployed in 2016. In order beginning Saturday, their current probables are: Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Bud Norris and Brandon McCarthy.

Aside from potentially reversing course and electing to call up a spot-starter, the possibility of course exists that the Dodgers acquire a starter via trade. They’ve been linked to Tampa Bay Rays righty Chris Archer and Oakland’s Rich Hill, among others.

What’s more, Norris was pressed into relief duty in the 15th inning of Friday’s loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He threw 23 pitches over 1.1 innings and for now remains on track to start Tuesday.

Los Angeles does have added flexibility as Ross Stripling was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. While he replaced Grant Dayton to give Roberts a fresh arm in the bullpen, Stripling conceivably could be inserted into the rotation.