Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Struggling Maeda could have start pushed back

MLB.com @kengurnick

PHOENIX -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said struggling starting pitcher Kenta Maeda will remain in the rotation but is likely to have his next start pushed back one day.

"We haven't made that decision," said Roberts. "We might give him an extra day. Right now we're going to have him ready for Thursday."

View Full Game Coverage

PHOENIX -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said struggling starting pitcher Kenta Maeda will remain in the rotation but is likely to have his next start pushed back one day.

"We haven't made that decision," said Roberts. "We might give him an extra day. Right now we're going to have him ready for Thursday."

View Full Game Coverage

An extra day means Maeda would start Friday night in Los Angeles against the Phillies instead of Thursday in San Francisco. It also means Julio Urias probably would be recalled from Triple-A to make the Thursday start at AT&T Park. Roberts wouldn't confirm any of that, and the club still has Alex Wood listed to start Wednesday and Maeda to start Thursday.

Roberts said he met with Maeda on Sunday morning to discuss his pitch selection, location and confidence level. The staff believes Maeda will be effective only if he pitches no higher than the knees. Maeda's ERA has ballooned to 8.05 in four starts.

"I encouraged him to do what, in my opinion, makes him good," said Roberts. "His velocity has ticked up, which is a good thing, but his reliance is on the four-seam fastball; I just know I've seen Kenta put the ball on the ground and changing speeds a little more. We talked about that, and for me it's just to have him exhale a little and feel good about him. I know he'll be fine."

Roberts said he also spoke to Maeda about using the cutter he worked on in Spring Training against left-handed hitters. He threw the pitch only twice Saturday night, while three of the four homers he allowed came off fastballs. Left-handed hitters have a 1.103 OPS off Maeda.

"He's trying to get the four-seam fastball in there, but it leaks back over," said Roberts. "The cutter might come into play in his next start."

Maeda told the Japanese media Saturday night that his confidence has wavered. Roberts addressed that as well.

"I think it starts with his confidence, and execution is a byproduct," he said. "We have to reinstill that confidence in Kenta. The skill is there, the ability is there, the arm strength is there, and he is healthy. Now it's about confidence that leads to the execution."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenta Maeda