After spending weeks shuffling and searching for reliable fourth and fifth starters in their rotation, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Alex Wood and Mat Latos in a three-team, 13-player trade that involved the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.
While both have had some bumps along the way, Wood, 24 years old and under contract beyond the 2015 season, figures to factor in heavily to the Dodgers’ plans. The same cannot be said for Latos, however. He’s struggled after a strong first outing in Los Angeles and was scratched from his scheduled start earlier in the week due to neck stiffness.
On Friday Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the fifth spot in the rotation will be determined on matchups, according to co-host of Dodger Talk David Vassegh:
Don Mattingly said rest of season 5th starter spot will be based on matchups
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) September 11, 2015
The pool of starting pitchers the Dodgers will select from includes Latos so long as he remains healthy, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
Mat Latos' neck has improved. He's throwing off the bullpen mound now. Don Mattingly said he's part of the number-5 starter mix if healthy.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) September 11, 2015
While Mattingly allowed Latos will receive consideration to start, the fifth-year manager said on Wednesday there wasn’t a plan to use the right-hander in an upcoming game. Latos expressed frustration with being removed after only four innings in his start against the San Diego Padres. He’d allowed four runs through the first two innings, but threw a scoreless third and fourth.
Mattingly said he understood Latos’ position, and the two met to discuss the right-hander’s comments. If not Latos, options available to the Dodgers conceivably are Mike Bolsinger, Ian Thomas and Joe Wieland.
Bolsinger was a solution earlier in the season and made a spot start over the weekend in San Diego to provide extra rest for those already in the rotation. Wieland filled in for Latos, making his second start of the season with the Dodgers. Los Angeles has 22 games remaining on their regular-season schedule.