Stripling goes to IL, Hernandez likely to follow

July 27th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- While a pair of similarly-timed injuries seemed potentially minor at first, time has not been kind to their prognosis.

The Dodgers placed right-handed pitcher on the 10-day injured list with right biceps tendinitis and utility man (left hand) appears to be headed there as soon as Sunday, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said before Saturday afternoon’s game. Both were pulled from Wednesday’s loss to the Angels.

Stripling, who was originally dealing with neck tightness, was “50-50” as far as making his next start on Tuesday. He was hoping to throw a bullpen in D.C. either Saturday or Sunday as the final indicator, but discomfort trickled down into his biceps after a catch Saturday, and that’s when the club decided to back off him.

“It started out in the neck and then probably just compromised his delivery which got into the bicep[s],” Roberts said. “He went out there and played catch today and didn’t feel good. When you are talking about the arm for a pitcher then you really have to be cautious.

“I think that we are getting ahead of it and it’s something that shouldn’t be long term,” Roberts added. “But I think a start or two right now where we’re at is fair, and I expect him to be fine after that.”

Righty Jamie Schultz, who can provide several innings of relief, was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City in Stripling’s place. Recently moved back into the rotation in place of Rich Hill, Stripling, for his part, has appeared in 26 games (12 starts) for the Dodgers this year, recording a 4-4 mark with a 3.64 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.

But now the Dodgers must hone in on a starter to replace Stripling for at least one turn through the rotation, with his next outing slated to come Tuesday in Colorado. Roberts mentioned the possibility of a bullpen day, as well as Julio Urias as an option to take the bulk of the innings, whether it be as a starter or following an opener. A recall from the farm is another possibility.

Both Stripling and Hernandez departed Wednesday’s loss to the Angels early -- Stripling after feeling neck tightness following five innings and 62 pitches, Hernandez after hurting his left hand on an awkward swing-and-miss in the fourth.

Hernandez IL stint “inevitable”

Hernandez, meanwhile, had an MRI on his left hand on Friday, but Roberts has not yet received the results. Regardless, the ongoing level of pain Hernandez has experienced with the bat makes a trip the IL all the more likely and is slated to be confirmed Sunday or Monday. Until then, Hernandez, who is batting .238/.309/.433 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs this season, is available as a defensive replacement.

“It’s more of a situation where just having him active to play defense for us is the goal right now probably through the weekend,” Roberts said. “But the IL seems inevitable just with his pain. … Just where he is at with him not being able to swing the bat, we have to make sure he gets back to health.”

So the Dodgers will soon need someone to back up Corey Seager and Max Muncy in the middle of the infield with Hernandez soon to join Chris Taylor on the shelf. Roberts said that relief will not come in the form of the organization’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, second baseman/shortstop Gavin Lux. Lux owns a 1.476 OPS and has hit eight home runs with Oklahoma City this season.

“I would say not,” he said. “As with most teams with young players that need at-bats to come here, to not play consistently doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Floro likely to return against Rockies

Roberts added that the plan is to activate right-handed reliever (neck inflammation) at some point during the team’s three-game set in Colorado, which starts Monday.

Floro tossed a scoreless, 16-pitch inning with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Friday, working around a pair of one-out hits and a HBP that loaded the bases. He started the outing off with a strikeout and ended it with a double play.

“He threw the ball well,” Roberts said. “The command wasn’t great. There was a little bit of soft contact. He was efficient, I think it was 16 pitches. Velocity was good.”