The Dodgers have officially activated veteran southpaw Rich Hill to make his 2019 debut, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. To make room for Hill on the active roster, left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson has been placed on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury. Hill will make his first start of the young season in Sunday’s game against the Pirates.
The injury is the latest in what has been a frustrating start to the 2019 season for Ferguson. A cursory glance at his 3.26 ERA does not tell the whole story. In fact, Ferguson has had trouble preventing home runs and walks, having conceded 8 bases no balls and 3 home runs in just 13 innings of work. Despite the similar 3.49 ERA in 2018, Ferguson enjoyed considerably more success in those two departments last season, when he allowed a more respectable 1.5 HR/9 and 2.2 BB/9, to go along with 10.8 K/9.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles will gladly welcome back the 39-year-old Hill, who has been an integral part of the club’s stellar starting rotation since he joined the club in 2016. To be sure, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has fared just fine without Hill, but he represents the latest boon to a rotation that began the season with both Hill and ace Clayton Kershaw on the shelf. Hill’s return gives the Dodgers seven realistic options to start, though it’s unclear just how his arrival will shake up the rest of the Dodgers’ starters. Kenta Maeda is certainly an option to move to the bullpen, and is probably the most likely to do so with both Ross Stripling and Hyun Jin Ryu performing well behind stalwarts Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Julio Urias, who has also enjoyed an encouraging start to the season, has already been moved to the bullpen. Surely, these are good problems to have for the first-place Dodgers, who find themselves with bountiful options in the event that another starter suffers an injury.