DENVER -- Of the seven pitchers to start games for the Dodgers this season, four have served time on the disabled list, with three currently on it. There's been a cyclical pattern to the health of the starting rotation, and the health should approach a peak as two starters are set to come off the DL over the next two days.
Brandon McCarthy will be reactivated Monday, the first day he's eligible since going on the DL May 8 (retroactive to May 5) with a dislocated left shoulder. The right-hander will start the same day in San Francisco.
"Mac threw a simulated game a few days ago," manager Dave Roberts said before Sunday's series finale in Colorado. "Went four [innings] and 60 [pitches]. He's chomping at the bit. We expect him to be sharp and go out there and give us a chance to win."
The sim game and a couple side sessions have been the extent of McCarthy's activity since he last pitched April 29 against Philadelphia.
The two starters to return from the DL so far both did so as soon as they were eligible and had issues in their first outing back. Hyun-Jin Ryu came off Thursday after an extended rest without a rehab assignment and was not sharp, giving up a career-high 10 runs (five earned) in four innings. Rich Hill came back April 16 and lasted just three innings before the blister on his left middle finger flared up again and he went right back on the DL.
Roberts confirmed that Hill will be reactivated to pitch Tuesday in San Francisco.
Kenta Maeda (left hamstring tightness) is the third starter currently out of commission, hitting the DL a day after throwing 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Pirates. Roberts has indicated that Maeda should only miss one start and should be able to come off the DL as soon as he's eligible, without needing a rehab assignment.
The depth of strong starting pitching has enabled the Dodgers to cycle starters on and off the roster, and they've carried four starting pitchers and an extra reliever throughout the four-game set in Colorado.
"Right now we're at a full bench, but we've gone four," Roberts said of the balancing act with his roster. "We might go four here in the next few days. I'm fine with that. With the four starters on the roster, we've got eight in the 'pen. When Mac comes back, we're going to have to make a move. But we have versatility with the roster as far as position players."
Add in injured position players like outfielders Alvin Toles and Andre Ethier, second baseman John Forsythe, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and the Dodgers can feel fairly good about climbing to within a half-game of the first-place Rockies with a chance to surpass them in the series finale.
"We're getting the starting pitching that we had hoped to get," Roberts said. "The hitting, the fielding, the timely hitting, the 'pen, kind of feeds off that. You look at the schedule for May, and to come in here for four games then you go into San Francisco after that, this is a tall order, a big ask, for a club. For us now to have a chance to win the series, we're in a good spot."