After several offseason moves, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen was expected to be one of the team’s strong suits. However, due to various issues, that hasn’t necessarily been the case as the season wears on.
The Dodgers’ bullpen currently owns a 4.12 ERA, which is worst in the Majors. The lack of sustained success can be tied to young relievers struggling and injuries. Among those to fall victim to the later is Chris Hatcher. The hard-throwing right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 17 with an oblique injury and initially wasn’t expected to miss much time.
He was later transferred to the 60-day DL and is eligible to be reinstated Friday. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t say when the reliever would be activated, but voiced his support of Hatcher. “We like Chris,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly furthered his comments by adding Hatcher still has a spot in the bullpen once he’s ready to return. “He’s not down there because we don’t think he’s any good,” the fifth-year manager said. “He’s down there because he’s been injured.”
Hatcher tossed 18.1 innings for the Dodgers before going being injured and his performance was largely subpar. He posted a 6.38 ERA and lowly 59 ERA+. Surprisingly, he found better success against left-handed batters as he allowed just five hits in 24 at-bats.
He appeared in three games for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and five for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He combined to throw 7.1 innings and allowed six runs on nine hits with opponents batting .300 against him.
With Hatcher out of the fold, the Dodgers have relied on any combination of Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Juan Nicasio, and now Jim Johnson as right-handed options out of the bullpen.