- A pair of notable rotation reinforcements, Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, are on track to rejoin the Dodgers’ early in the summer, writes Doug Padilla of ESPN.com. Ryu, who’s working his way back from shoulder surgery, threw a 40- to 45-pitch bullpen session Saturday and could return sometime in June. McCarthy, on the mend from Tommy John surgery, threw 50 to 60 pitches Saturday and might come back closer to July. Dodgers starters have held their own this year with a 3.37 ERA/3.33 FIP/3.58 xFIP, but adding accomplished veteran depth for the stretch run is never a bad thing. Ryu hasn’t pitched since 2014, though his first two major league campaigns were highly successful. In one of his best seasons to date, 2014, McCarthy compiled a 4.05 ERA, 52.5 percent ground-ball rate, 7.88 K/9 and 1.49 BB/9 while totaling a career-high 200 innings.
- The Astros and Dodgers had the most notable scouting entourages on hand to watch Cuban righty Vladimir Gutierrez in what will likely be his final showcase, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports. There were plenty of other organizations with eyes on Gutierrez, of course, so one shouldn’t read too much into that. Generally, says Badler, the interesting youngster showed a mid-90s fastball and impressive breaking ball, though his fastball command and other offerings still need work.
- Dodgers right-hander Yimi Garcia still hasn’t picked up a baseball since landing on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis this past weekend, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group. While Garcia has yet to undergo an MRI, that’ll be the next step for him if he doesn’t improve in the relatively near future. The 25-year-old Garcia has a surrendered three runs through 8 1/3 innings this season, though he’s struck out just four batters after whiffing 68 men in 56 2/3 innings last season.
- Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy threw a bullpen for team officials yesterday, tweets MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. The throwing session was the latest step in McCarthy’s recovery after having Tommy John surgery early last season.
- Another injured Dodgers starter, Hyun-jin Ryu, threw a 30-pitch bullpen today and could soon begin facing live hitters, ESPN’s Doug Padilla writes. Ryu, who is recovering after having labrum surgery last year, had his throwing program delayed after he suffered a groin strain earlier this month. It’s still unclear when he’ll return, Padilla notes.
- The Dodgers have also announced that they’ve reinstated outfielder Carl Crawford, who had been on the DL for the past two weeks with a back injury. To clear space on their active roster, they optioned righty Zach Lee to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- Dodgers rookie right-hander Kenta Maeda turned in his fourth straight excellent performance Saturday night, throwing 6 1/3 shutout innings at Colorado’s hitter-friendly Coors Field in a 4-1 victory. Maeda, who surrendered three hits and a walk while striking out eight, became the first pitcher since at least 1913 to begin his major league career by allowing only one total run in his first four starts, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. He’s also one of just 76 pitchers during that time frame to record four consecutive quality starts at the onset of his career. So far, the Japan native and offseason free agent signing has posted a videogamelike, NL-best .36 ERA in 25 1/3 innings and piled up 23 strikeouts against five walks.
- Padres bench coach Mark McGwire, one of the most prolific sluggers in baseball history, could be working his way up to a managerial job, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. McGwire started down this road seven years ago when then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa lured him out of retirement to serve as the team’s hitting coach, a role he eventually had with the Dodgers before joining the Padres this season. La Russa, who’s now the Diamondbacks’ chief baseball officer, talked to McGwire in the offseason about bringing him aboard Arizona’s staff as its hitting coach. McGwire wanted to remain closer to his California home, though, so he chose the Padres and is now first-year manager Andy Green’s “eyes and ears.” On whether he’d be open to managing, McGwire told Goold, “I have never ruled it out. I’ve got so much to learn. Who knows where this is going, really?”
- While he’s shelved on the DL with a broken leg, Dodgers’ outfielder Andre Ethier has officially achieved ten-and-five status, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times notes on Twitter. The veteran therefore obtains full no-trade rights, which was all but inevitable when the club elected not to deal him entering the season. Ethier is owed $20MM for one more campaign after this one, including a $2.5MM buyout on a club option for 2018.
- Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke won’t be cleared for baseball activities until next week, tweets Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, and he could miss as much as another month with the back problem that has kept him from game action since April 10. Van Slyke hit the DL a bit more than a week ago after making just 10 plate appearances this season. He’s the latest in a slew of Dodgers outfielders to be shelved, as both Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are on the DL as well. (Crawford, though, was sent on a minor league rehab assignment today.)
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman doesn’t believe the major leagues have properly welcomed Cuban-born players in the past. “We as an industry, in my opinion, have failed our Cuban players,” Friedman told Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller. “We sign them for big money and rush them to the big leagues.” Friedman certainly has a point about the league having failed Cubans, as it only began assigning Latin players translators this year, which Miller notes. On the other hand, pricey free agents who arrive from Japan have been given translators immediately. Considering Friedman’s thoughts, it’s no surprise that he and the Dodgers are putting forth an effort to help star Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig fit in better in his fourth year. Friedman said earlier this spring that first-year manager Dave Roberts and his staff were doing “a great job creating a relationship” with Puig, who stated over the winter that he wanted to be a better teammate. “It showed a level of vulnerability to me,” commented Friedman. Puig had a down year in 2015, but his performance has been sensational early this season, as indicated by a scorching .357/.449/.548 line in 42 plate appearances.
In the latest discouraging news for the Dodgers’ Hyun-jin Ryu, the lefty is battling “a little groin strain” and has halted his throwing program as a result, manager Dave Roberts told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). “Technically it’s a setback, and I don’t know how severe the injury is,” Roberts said (link via Dan Arritt of ESPN.com). Ryu, who underwent surgery on a torn left labrum last May, hasn’t appeared in a big league game since October 2014. He seemed to be making progress in his recovery prior to his groin acting up, having tossed two 20-pitch sim games April 8.
- One of Ryu’s Dodgers teammates, outfielder Carl Crawford, is recovering well from a lower back injury and will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City in the upcoming week, according to Jack Baer of MLB.com. Crawford, whom the Dodgers placed on the 15-day disabled list April 9, should be activated April 24. Crawford started the Dodgers’ first three games of the season and hit .273/.273/.364 in 11 plate appearances. Upon returning, he’ll join a crowded outfield picture that includes Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Kike Hernandez and Trayce Thompson, all of whom have been terrific this year.
Dodgers righty Ross Stripling nearly completed a no-hitter in his first big-league start, but he headed into the season with the far more modest hope of avoiding going back to Double-A, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “I knew we were going to have a lot of guys filter down to Triple-A and that might push guys back to Double-A,” he says. “When they kind of told me early in spring that I was going to Oklahoma City, that was a good thing for me. I was happy to be going up a level.” Beginning the season at Double-A wouldn’t have seemed at all unreasonable for Stripling, at least on paper — it would have been his third year at the level, but he made only 13 starts at Double-A Tulsa while returning from Tommy John surgery in 2015. Instead of going back to Tulsa this year, Stripling quickly made his way to the big leagues and enjoyed an improbable level of immediate success. The last pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his big-league debut, Kepner writes, was Bumpus Jones of the 1892 Cincinnati Reds. Here’s more from the West divisions.