6:29pm: MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick tweets that the expectation is that Buehler will return to the club Saturday and serve as 26th man in the Dodgers’ doubleheader against the Giants, starting one of the two games.
5:41pm: The Dodgers announced tonight that they’ve added veteran right-hander Daniel Hudson to the 40-man roster and brought him up to the Majors. Top prospect Walker Buehler, who tossed five shutout innings for the Dodgers yesterday, was optioned to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Los Angeles had 39 players on its 40-man roster prior to adding Hudson, so no corresponding 40-man move was necessary.
The veteran Hudson joined the Dodgers on a minor league pact back on April 2 after being cut loose by the Rays at the end of Spring Training. Tampa Bay will be responsible for paying the bulk of Hudson’s $5.5MM salary, with the Dodgers owing him only the pro-rated league minimum for time spent on the big league roster.
Hudson, 31, is coming off a mediocre season with the Pirates, during which he totaled 61 2/3 innings and averaged 9.6 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 with 1.0 HR/9 en route to a 4.38 ERA. He’s demonstrated impressive velocity since moving to the bullpen after his second Tommy John surgery, and while Hudson has shown flashes of brilliance over the past three seasons, the aggregate results have been fairly pedestrian.
Hudson opened the season with 4 2/3 shutout innings early in Triple-A, and the Dodgers will hope to catch lightning in a bottle with him in similar fashion to the manner in which they struck gold on Brandon Morrow last year. Of course, L.A. isn’t shy about quick roster turnover, so if another roster need arises, it’s also possible that Hudson’s stay with the team will be an abbreviated one.
[Related: Los Angeles Dodgers depth chart]
Buehler, 23, will head back to the minors and continue to work in the rotation, though it stands to reason that he’ll likely be back with the Dodgers later this year. The former first-rounder (24th, 2015) is generally regarded as one of the game’s elite pitching prospects but still has just a total of 36 innings at the Triple-A level under his belt (in addition to 14 1/3 MLB frames). Rich Hill tossed a four-inning simulated game today and will rejoin the rotation Monday (Twitter link via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times) so there’s no long-term spot in the rotation for Buehler to occupy. When Hill returns, he’ll join Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda in the starting five.