First, the good news: Brian Wilson is back! That really shouldn’t be understated. When he first came up complaining of elbow soreness two weeks ago after looking terrible in blowing a game against San Diego, I think we all thought the worst for the two-time Tommy John survivor. Had you told me on that day that we wouldn’t see him again for the remainder of the season, I wouldn’t have found it all that surprising. Now, after only two rehab games and the minimum time needed on the disabled list, he’s back. Assuming he’s healthy, that’s very, very good.
But of course, nothing good comes without a price, and that price is being paid by Paco Rodriguez, who was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Wilson. Though disappointing, it’s not all that surprising, since the team wasn’t going to jettison Brandon League — sorry — and Chris Withrow has been so good that it would have been extremely difficult to let him go. Since only Withrow and Rodriguez have options, it had to be one or the other.
10:15 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
Rodriguez has actually never pitched in Triple-A, having gone straight from Double-A to the Dodgers in 2012 and spending all season with the big club in 2013. He had, however, pitched in eight of the team’s first 13 games, and while he was fine, he wasn’t dominant. (Eight baserunners allowed in 5.2 innings.) Since he’ll so obviously be back as soon as another reliever is injured, which should be, oh, any second now, being without him for a few days or weeks isn’t really as concerning to me as I imagine it may be to many.
Of course, this does leave the Dodgers with just one lefty in the pen, J.P. Howell. I can’t say I love that. But that’s how it’s going to be for now.
In other news: Carl Crawford is back, having missed the final two games of the Arizona series with minor right side tightness and “facing a lefty-itis.” That gives Matt Kemp the honor of being the extra man tonight against Tim Lincecum, and I don’t exactly hate the idea of having one of these four guys on the bench in the late innings every night.
In news that’s less good: Chad Billingsley didn’t make it through his scheduled bullpen appearance, and is headed back to Los Angeles for an MRI after “tightness and discomfort.” We once thought his rehab was going so well that we might have seen him by early May. Now, I don’t think there’s any realistic ETA for his return. Discouraging, to say the least.
But to end on a good note: Joc Pederson hit another homer tonight! That’s his fourth of the season, coming off Keyvius Sampson in the third inning. As I type, the Isotopes are in the middle of putting up a six-spot in the third against El Paso — they’re still batting — with Matt Magill on the mound.