Vesia recalled, pitches at critical moment

May 2nd, 2021

The Dodgers on Saturday optioned right-hander to the club’s alternate training site, recalling left-hander as the corresponding move.

Uceta made his Major League debut on Friday, starting a bullpen game for the Dodgers against the Brewers at American Family Field. He threw 27 pitches in two innings, striking out two and walking one while allowing four hits, including a two-run home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. that was the difference in L.A.’s 3-1 loss.

Vesia, Uceta’s replacement, found himself in the middle of some high-leverage moments in the Dodgers’ 6-5 loss in 11 innings to the Brewers on Saturday. With just about every other reliever burned, Vesia entered in the 10th with the Dodgers up by a run, then issued two walks and allowed a sac fly to force another inning. Vesia stayed on to start the 11th after L.A. retook the lead, but he was lifted after allowing two more walks.

The 25-year-old Vesia, who was acquired from the Marlins in February as part of the Dylan Floro trade, debuted with Miami last season and made five relief appearances, allowing nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, with five strikeouts vs. seven walks. The Dodgers are banking on Vesia ultimately putting up numbers more in line with his two Minor League seasons, when he had a 1.62 ERA in 52 games with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 138 to 26.

“It's a fastball-change mix. There's a breaking ball in there. It's 90-92 [mph]. Good command,” manager Dave Roberts said prior to Saturday’s game. “I do see him as a guy that gets left and right out.”

The move left the Dodgers with 14 pitchers on the active roster for the third straight game, something of a quirk borne of playing 14 consecutive games without a day off. That will likely be the case again on Sunday, as Roberts anticipated a roster move ahead of the series finale to bring in a fresh arm that can hopefully provide the team with “some length.”

“I would say it is odd,” Roberts said of carrying 14 pitchers. “I think that where we're at, just the coverage potential makes sense, and the versatility that we do have on the bench. It's gonna be short-lived and we'll get back to normal. … I think that we do a good job of maneuvering, and having versatile players that can kind of move around the diamond makes my job a little bit easier.”