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Dodgers add Barnes; Martin to bereavement list

@kengurnick
August 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Saturday placed catcher Russell Martin on the bereavement list after the death of his grandmother and recalled catcher Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Martin is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Tuesday, manager Dave Roberts said. Barnes will catch Clayton Kershaw on Sunday,

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Saturday placed catcher Russell Martin on the bereavement list after the death of his grandmother and recalled catcher Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Martin is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Tuesday, manager Dave Roberts said. Barnes will catch Clayton Kershaw on Sunday, return to Triple-A on Tuesday and be recalled on Sept. 1 when rosters expand.

Barnes, who spent the first half as the Dodgers’ primary catcher, lost the job to rookie Will Smith and was sent down to the Minor Leagues on July 25 after batting .196 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 70 games. In 20 games for Oklahoma City, Barnes is batting .250 with six homers and 16 RBIs.

Smith, meanwhile, has become a sensation, batting .304 with 12 homers and 31 RBIs in only 29 games.

Martin, 36, has appeared in 69 games for the Dodgers, hitting .207 with four homers and 15 RBIs.

• Roberts said Hyun-Jin Ryu will make his next start on Thursday in Arizona, but might be skipped a start in September (or have his starts shortened) as a precautionary measure to mitigate against fatigue.

Ryu has allowed five home runs in his last two starts, including three in Friday night’s 10-2 loss to the Yankees, after allowing only 10 in his first 22 starts of the year. He has pitched more innings already this season than he has since 2014.

“The sign of fatigue is velocity, command and holding your stuff in a game,” said Roberts. “The last two, the command has been kind of compromised a little bit. But talking to the player, the staff, there’s no fatigue. He’s done a great job of keeping himself strong. I don’t think it’s fatigue.”

• Injured pitchers Ross Stripling and Rich Hill are both close to returning.

Stripling, recovered from neck and biceps irritation, said he’s scheduled to throw three innings in an Arizona Summer League game on Tuesday. How he does and feels will determine if he needs further rehab action or a Sept. 1 activation. Roberts has said Stripling will return as a long reliever. He’s now been out a month.

Hill, who has missed more than two months with a strained flexor tendon, threw his first bullpen session on Saturday but did not throw breaking balls, which require the torque that injured him in the first place. Roberts said Hill needs another bullpen session, with curveballs, before he faces hitters. The club remains hopeful Hill can be in the mix as a starter in the postseason.

Suspended pitcher Julio Urias will throw a bullpen session in Arizona on Sunday and will also be stretched out to be a starting candidate.

Roberts said building up Stripling, Hill, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will allow skipping or resting any of the other starters.

• Roberts said Alex Verdugo has resumed baseball activities in Arizona after suffering a strained right oblique on Aug. 4. His return is expected after Sept. 1.

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