LOS ANGELES ― The Dodgers put two of their best relievers to work early Tuesday.
Long before the first pitch was thrown against the Minnesota Twins, Brusdar Graterol was hurling triple-digit fastballs from the mound. Blake Treinen was pumping them over at 98 mph.
The two right-handers certainly looked sharp in the eyes of the radar gun, and to their teammates who swung and missed on occasion. Their next chance to show they’re ready is on Friday, when Treinen and Graterol will be assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to begin their long-awaited rehabilitation assignments.
“I feel great,” Graterol said. “I feel like I’m back again.”
Graterol, who hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since July 10 because of a sore shoulder, is expected to return by the end of August. Treinen is expected back around Sept. 1 or 2, Manager Dave Roberts said.
The two right-handers were integral set-up men when the season began. Graterol went 2-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 37 appearances (40-1/3 innings) prior to the injury. Treinen has appeared in only three games this season. In 2021, Treinen posted a 1.99 ERA across 72 appearances, striking out more than a batter an inning.
Getting both pitchers back provides a jolt of experience to the bullpen for the stretch run, but Roberts would prefer to ease the pair back into their roles.
“Some softer landings initially would be better for everyone,” Roberts said. “The goal is to have both those guys take on any role in leverage, then be able to use (Evan) Phillips, Graterol and Blake kind of interchangeably, as far as right-handed relievers.”
In what might have been his final rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City, right-hander Dustin May threw five innings for the first time since he tore the UCL in his right elbow in May 2021.
May threw 68 pitches against the Round Rock Express and gave up one run on a solo home run. May allowed three hits in all and walked one batter.
Assuming he inherits Clayton Kershaw’s place in the starting rotation, May might not debut for the Dodgers until Aug. 16 in Milwaukee. That would give him a full five days between starts to prepare for his return.
Ryan Pepiot is expected to take that spot in the rotation on Wednesday night against Minnesota. He is on the taxi squad in the meantime.
Infielder Miguel Vargas was formally optioned to Triple-A to make room for Justin Turner, who was activated from the injured list prior to Tuesday’s game. … Rylan Bannon, whom the Dodgers claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles, was optioned to Triple-A. … Rehabbing third baseman Edwin Rios went 3 for 5 with three singles for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Minnesota (RHP Sonny Gray, 6-3, 3.19) at Dodgers (RHP Ryan Pepiot, 1-0, 2.76 ERA), Wednesday, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM