Dodgers' rotation scramble continues with Vicente Padilla out a month
With Vicente Padilla now expected to be out at least until June with that irritated nerve in his right forearm, his replacement becomes more crucial.
Worthy candidates are not exactly falling over each other.
It becomes even more significant because original fifth starter Charlie Haeger apparently has been banished into pitching purgatory.
At least he seems in some kind of no man’s land between the bullpen and rotation. He hasn’t been seen since getting lit up in New York on Tuesday.
If Haeger’s out, then the Dodgers need two starters to complement Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. That’s two more than can be easily identified.
For now, the Dodgers are going to give John Ely another start Thursday, cross fingers and hope he develops. Ely, who pitched all of last season in double A, had a decent first career start in New York.
"With Haeger, you can probably do more things in terms of back and forth [to the bullpen]," said Joe Torre. "In Ely’s case, if he continues to be here, I think you have to give him the ball."
Ely was charged with five runs in six innings of his first start, though the party line has been he actually only had one bad inning, and that could have been reduced to a single run if Ely had made a smarter play on a come backer.
Torre can put off his other rotation decision for awhile because of Monday’s off-day. Kershaw is scheduled to start Tuesday and Billingsley on Wednesday. With Ely on Thursday, Kuroda could come back on Friday.
On Friday, however, reliever Jeff Weaver is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list, so somebody is going to have to go down.
The leading candidate should be Haeger, except he’s out of options. But would anyone really want to claim him and his 7.45 ERA? At this point, take the gamble.
Torre said Haeger’s problem isn’t with his knuckleball, but locating his fastball.
"Early on, his first couple starts, he was better," he said. "But now he’s missing with his fastball. It’s not a good situation for him."
Somebody is going to have to be the fifth starter. Carlos Monasterios started in Haeger’s spot Saturday and pitched well enough to probably earn another look.
It’s the Dodgers’ rotation juggle. Might be best to get used to it.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photos (clockwise, from top left): Vicente Padilla, John Ely, Carlos Monasterios and Charlie Haeger. Credits: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; David Pokress / MCT; Gus Ruelas / Associated Press; Steve Mitchell / US Presswire.