Dodgers place Hill on DL, call up Liberatore

Left-hander dealing with finger inflammation unrelated to past blister issues; Jansen's closer role 'absolutely not' at risk

April 18th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled left-handed reliever from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and placed left-hander Rich Hill (left middle finger inflammation) on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 15.
Hill cracked his nail in his last start and was unable to throw his bullpen session on Tuesday. While Hill said he's "frustrated," he doesn't think the ailment will be a long-term issue.
Hill last pitched on Saturday against the Diamondbacks, when he allowed seven runs on seven hits in five innings as he recorded his first loss of the season. In three starts this year, the southpaw has gone 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (10 earned runs, 15 innings pitched) and has struck out 16 batters against seven walks.
"We're going to rest it for a few days and then come back," Hill said. "It's more of a precautionary thing. We want to get ahead of it now and not nurse it the entire season. We want to deal with it and get it done."
Hill has been derailed in the past with blisters on the fingers of his throwing hand. But he stressed that had nothing to do with his latest injury.
"It's just the nail that cracked and it's kind of one of those things where you don't have as much nail bend," Hill said. "So it just inhibits the command of the fastball."

Hill was scheduled to start the series opener against the visiting Washington Nationals on Friday night. The Dodgers could keep on his regular turn and switch him from Saturday's game to Friday's. They could also summon a reinforcement from the Minors or have multiple relievers handle the start.
"It just came upon us, so we are trying to figure it out," manager Dave Roberts said. "Clayton is an option if we move him up, or do we call someone else up and try to figure it out. So we are not set on our rotation. We are trying to talk our way through it."
Roberts, like Hill, said blisters are not in play.
"It's a different thing,'' Roberts said. "It's more of the nail itself, but I think for us, where we are right now and the history of stuff with him, we're just going to be prudent. Potentially, he might miss just one start, so we are not going to push it right now."
Liberatore, 30, has appeared in five games with the OKC Dodgers this season, going 1-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 6 1/3 innings of relief. He has struck out nine batters against two walks, while holding the opposition to a .240 average. The southpaw appeared in seven Cactus League games, allowing seven runs (six earned) in 6 2/3 innings, while striking out seven against four walks. Liberatore appeared in just four games with the Dodgers last season, allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA), but had several injuries.
"Lib can give us some length as far as two innings," Roberts said. "With his ability of getting a left-hander and a right-hander out and his potential for two innings, it just made more sense."
Jansen's woes
strolled through the clubhouse, whistling as he walked. If he was stressed over his latest struggles, it didn't show.
But less than 24 hours from blowing his second save in four chances, the Dodgers are no closer to deciphering what's wrong with their two-time All-Star.
"We are still trying to figure it out," Roberts said. "And really, we have no answer yet."
Jansen entered the ninth on Tuesday night with a 3-1 lead. But he allowed the Padres to tie the score in a game the Dodgers eventually won, 7-3, in 12 innings.

"The one thing that was encouraging was his velocity was better than it had been," Roberts said. "But the other side of it was the characteristics of his cutter weren't doing what they were supposed to do. The health component, he keeps checking those boxes. It's more of just finishing that pitch at the end and getting the cut."
What Roberts isn't considering is moving Jansen out of his closer role.
"No, absolutely not," he said. "If there's a save situation tonight or a potential non-save situation to keep the game close, I have no hesitancy to run him out there.
"I think we are a ways from that. I think he has earned that and sometimes, with his track record, and guys like that, you have to let them work through it. It is more difficult when you are talking about the closer. It's not a mental thing, it's execution. So that is not our mind right now."