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May's role still a work in progress

Floro placed on IL; Sadler recalled from Oklahoma City
@kengurnick
August 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are trying to have it every which way with 21-year-old rookie pitcher Dustin May. The No. 2-ranked prospect in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline, started in his first three MLB appearances. Then he made his relief debut on Sunday, when he allowed a grand

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are trying to have it every which way with 21-year-old rookie pitcher Dustin May.

The No. 2-ranked prospect in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline, started in his first three MLB appearances. Then he made his relief debut on Sunday, when he allowed a grand slam to Rafael Ortega in an 8-3 loss to the Braves.

Then on Wednesday, he threw a two-inning simulated game, after which manager Dave Roberts said May will start again on next week’s trip, but also will continue to make relief appearances.

“I think he’ll start somewhere after another side session in two or three days,” Roberts said. “We still want to have him out of the bullpen, but in the short term, he’ll make a start.”

Here’s the translation: Management has for months envisioned May being a not-so-secret bullpen weapon in the postseason, but he’s done that only five times as a pro and needs practice. Then again, if another starting pitcher were to go down, May would need to be built up to step into the rotation.

Roberts indicated that May will essentially be a sixth starter as the Dodgers are in a 16-day stretch without a day off.

So, the Dodgers will switch May back and forth. Roberts said May is cut out to handle the demands.

“When you have a person of Dustin’s head, mindset, it makes it a better bet for us to make and especially when you have the buy-in of the player,” Roberts said. “To come in and expect him to throw three zeros the other day, that’s the hope, but you just never know. It’s a work in progress. I think the next time it happens he’ll feel a little more comfortable. We’re going to continue to keep our options open.”

In the meantime, the club is growing increasingly optimistic that Rich Hill will be healthy enough to contend for the fourth starter spot in October, even though he’s been out for two months with a strained flexor tendon.

“Every day he keeps getting markedly better,” said Roberts. “Let’s just hope he continues to build up arm strength and mixes in the breaking ball.”

Roberts reiterated that Ross Stripling, when he’s healthy enough to return, will do it as a reliever. There has been no official word on current starter Kenta Maeda, who has pitched in relief the past two postseasons.

Worth noting

An hour before the start of Wednesday night’s game, the Dodgers placed right-handed reliever Dylan Floro on the 10-day injured list with a left intercostal strain and recalled right-handed reliever Casey Sadler from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

On Tuesday, Floro was recalled and Sadler was optioned. Floro pitched one scoreless inning on Tuesday night. This is the 10th time this season Sadler has been called up to the Major Leagues between the Rays and Dodgers.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.