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Buehler optioned, but likely to start Saturday

Top prospect sent to nearby Rancho Cucamonga; reliever Hudson recalled
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers demoted top prospect Walker Buehler to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, but fans need not worry -- it's just a logistical move.

Buehler fired five scoreless innings against the Marlins in his first MLB start Monday night and was optioned to make room on the roster for reliever Daniel Hudson, bringing the bullpen count back to nine.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers demoted top prospect Walker Buehler to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, but fans need not worry -- it's just a logistical move.

Buehler fired five scoreless innings against the Marlins in his first MLB start Monday night and was optioned to make room on the roster for reliever Daniel Hudson, bringing the bullpen count back to nine.

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Hudson worked a perfect seventh inning against the Marlins, striking out two.

On Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wouldn't confirm it (because Buehler is not on the 25-man roster), but the rookie will likely be added as the 26th man to start the first game of Saturday's doubleheader in San Francisco. That's why he was sent to Rancho Cucamonga and not Triple-A Oklahoma City, where Hudson had been pitching.

"To keep him local gives us that option if we want to use him Saturday," Roberts said. "He reported there today, got his work in and we'll see how it plays out."

Rich Hill, who threw a four-inning, 58-pitch simulated game on Tuesday, will come off the disabled list to start Monday in Arizona, followed by Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, Hyun-Jin Ryu on Wednesday and Alex Wood on Thursday.

"It went well," Hill said of his workout. "Felt fine and got good feedback from the swings."

Hudson was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent on March 30. He made five relief appearances with the OKC Dodgers this season without allowing a hit in 4 2/3 innings, striking out five.

The 31-year-old right-hander, who was traded to Tampa Bay from Pittsburgh on Feb. 22, appeared in seven games with the Rays during Spring Training, allowing nine runs in 5 1/3 innings, with six strikeouts. He was released by Tampa Bay, and will receive $5.5 million this year. The Dodgers will pay only the Major League minimum portion of it.

Roberts compared Hudson's pitch mix to that of current Dodgers reliever JT Chargois. A former starter with the White Sox and D-backs, Hudson missed the second half of the 2012 season and the entire '13 campaign after having two Tommy John elbow reconstructions. He resumed his career at the end of '14 as a reliever. Last year with the Pirates, he went 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 71 games.

The Dodgers are looking at Hudson as a possible fill-in for Tom Koehler, who suffered a sprained right shoulder capsule in Spring Training. Koehler was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Monday and is not expected back until around the All-Star break. Koehler was signed in part to replace Brandon Morrow as the primary right-handed set-up man for closer Kenley Jansen.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler, Daniel Hudson