Dodgers add 3 veteran relievers who could make a meaningful impact

first_img Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers’ bullpen got a bit more crowded Monday.Right-handers John Axford and Yimi Garcia and left-hander Tony Cingrani were activated prior to the Dodgers’ series opener against the Colorado Rockies. All three pitchers returned after brief stints with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.Garcia should be the most major-league ready of the three. He pitched twice for the Dodgers in August after returning from a bout with forearm inflammation, rested for 11 days, then made three scoreless relief appearances for Rancho Cucamonga. In 22 major league games this season, Garcia has a 5.57 earned-run average.Axford and Cingrani could be ticketed for important roles soon. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “I would say there’s some wiggle room,” Roberts said. “Recency, I think deservedly so, should kind of have a little bit more weight than (performance) months prior. But guys … are going to get opportunities if it makes sense. It’s about right now, we’ve got to get results. To see what guys have done recently, that’s at the forefront of my mind.”The Dodgers’ active roster is almost at capacity. Right-handed relievers J.T. Chargois and Daniel Hudson were lost to injuries one day apart in August and haven’t pitched at any level since.Hudson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Cingrani, officially ending his season. He appeared in 40 games, going 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA, before going to the disabled list with tightness in his forearm. Chargois, who has an irritated nerve in his neck, is the only inactive player on the 40-man roster.PUIG HONOREDYasiel Puig was named the National League Player of the Week. He batted .429 (9 for 21) in seven games against the Reds and Cardinals last week, including a three-homer game Saturday in St. Louis.Puig won the award in June 2013, after the first seven games of his career, but had not won the award since. He ended the week with 21 home runs, 58 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and a .270 batting average for the season.MINOR MATTERSRight-handed pitcher Tony Gonsolin and infielder Gavin Lux were named the Branch Rickey minor league pitcher and player of the year, respectively. The Dodgers issue the award to their top minor league performers every season.Gonsolin, 24, began the season with Rancho Cucamonga and was named a Cal League All-Star before earning a promotion to Double-A Tulsa on July 14. Combined, he went 10-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 26 starts.Lux also began the season in Rancho Cucamonga and ended in Tulsa. The 2016 first-round draft pick batted .324 across the two levels while seeing time at shortstop and second base.Lux was chosen to the first team, and outfielder Alex Verdugo the second team, on Baseball America’s minor league All-Star team Monday.UP NEXTDodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 8-5, 2.51 ERA) vs. Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland, 15-7, 2.96), Tuesday, 7 p.m. SportsNet LA (where available), MLB Network (out of market only)Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Axford appeared in only three games after the Dodgers acquired him in a deadline deal with the Toronto Blue Jays before he broke his right fibula Aug. 12 in Colorado. He described the freak injury as the end result of a chain reaction: a comebacker hit halfway up his thigh, causing the fibula to fracture at its upper tip when it chafed against an adjoining bone in his knee.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.The Dodgers hoped that Axford, a 10-year veteran and former closer, could alleviate pressure on the bullpen in late-inning and high-leverage situations. He allowed six runs in his first game after the trade but hasn’t allowed a run since, including his only inning for Rancho Cucamonga on Friday.Cingrani was on a run of nine consecutive scoreless outings when he was sidelined by shoulder inflammation in June. He also pitched a scoreless inning Friday in the Cal League championship game, his only rehab appearance.Along with left-hander Julio Urías, who made his 2018 debut Saturday in St. Louis, the Dodgers suddenly gained four relief pitchers in three days. None of the four is an ordinary September call-up. All have postseason experience and are joining the Dodgers at a time when Dave Roberts is managing regular-season games with the urgency of the playoffs.There’s enough time left in the season, and enough uncertainty in the bullpen, that Roberts hasn’t etched his bridge to Kenley Jansen in stone. He allowed for the possibility that the new relievers could pitch their way into important set-up roles. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start last_img

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