LOS ANGELES -- Desperate times call for desperate measures for the Dodgers, who took a 14-man pitching staff and three-man bench into their game with the Padres on Thursday night.
They recalled right-hander Carlos Frias for long-relief protection with Hyun-Jin Ryu being activated to make his 2016 debut. To make room, Luis Avilan was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City and outfielder Will Venable was designated for assignment.
The unconventional roster is the result of a combination of factors, among them being the injury that put workhorse Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list; the returns to the rotation of Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, who are not expected to pitch deep into games coming off 2015 operations; the 3 1/3-inning start by 19-year-old Julio Urias on Monday; a four-inning start by Kenta Maeda on Tuesday; and the 14-inning loss to Baltimore on Wednesday that depleted an already weary bullpen.
The Dodgers have not had a starting pitcher other than Kershaw go seven innings since May 14. In the last three games, they have had 17 relief appearances totaling 19 2/3 innings.
"Tonight we'll go with a three-man bench," said manager Dave Roberts. "It's a short bench. We thought four was short, but we'll manage. Hope we don't go 14 innings again. We'll get through it. You might see a pitcher take an at-bat tonight other than Ryu."
For the opener against the Padres, the only reserves on the bench are switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, left-handed-hitting second baseman Chase Utley and right-handed-hitting utility man Chris Taylor.
Roberts said he would use a pitcher to pinch-hit or pinch-run if the situation arises. On Wednesday he used Maeda to pinch-run.
Frias, who began this season on the disabled list with a strained oblique, is 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 appearances between Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City as he recovered from the injury. He spent two days with the Dodgers this season but did not pitch.