August 15: The Dodgers have now officially selected Varland to the roster. The corresponding move is outfielder Jake Marisnick getting transferred to the 60-day injured list. He’s been on the 10-day IL since July 19 due to a left hamstring strain, which will seemingly keep him out of action until at least mid-September.
August 14: The Dodgers are planning to select the contract of right-hander Gus Varland from Triple-A Oklahoma City, reports Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). They’ll need to make a corresponding roster move.
It’ll be the Dodger debut for Varland, but not the right-hander’s big league debut. That came earlier this season with the Brewers, who selected Varland from the Dodgers in last December’s Rule 5 Draft. Varland made Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster after a huge spring showing and, through his first eight innings, held opponents to a pair of earned runs — albeit on nine hits with as many walks (five) as strikeouts. In what proved to be his last appearance with the Brewers, Varland was rocked for nine runs in just two-third of an inning against the Cardinals on May 15. Milwaukee designated him for assignment the next day.
Varland cleared waivers, was returned to the Dodgers organization, and has been excellent in Triple-A since. The 26-year-old has pitched 33 1/3 innings, working to a pristine 2.16 earned run average with a 29.3% strikeout rate, a 6% walk rate, a 42.4% grounder rate and just 0.54 HR/9. It’s strong production on the whole, but Varland has been even better after a shaky start in his return to the Dodgers organization; since June 9, the right-hander has a 1.42 ERA in 25 1/3 innings.
The promotion for Varland comes on the heels of right-hander Joe Kelly’s placement on the 15-day injured list. Kelly, acquired from the White Sox alongside Lance Lynn, has tossed 3 2/3 shutout innings since being acquired. His IL placement was relative to Aug. 10. Kelly is the ninth right-handed reliever on the Dodgers’ injured list at the moment, joining Yency Almonte, Tyler Cyr, J.P. Feyereisen, Daniel Hudson, Shelby Miller, Jimmy Nelson, Alex Reyes and Blake Treinen. Los Angeles didn’t have another healthy right-handed reliever on the 40-man roster — barring a short-term move to relief for Gavin Stone, Emmet Sheehan or Ryan Pepiot, all of whom are in Triple-A at the moment — so they’ll give Varland his first look and hope he can continue the pace he’s set since returning from the Brewers.