In a season where it appeared the Los Angeles Dodgers had plenty of starting pitching depth, injuries depleted the depth and left the team in a difficult situation as the season wore.
Among the pitchers who were lost to injury was Stephen Fife, who spent the majority of the 2014 season in Triple-A and underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 13. As the Dodgers were rotating pitchers on and off the disabled list, it left them short one starter and Fife filled the void during a road trip in May.
On Monday, the Dodgers outrighted Fife to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and he is now out of options.
In his only start with the Dodgers this season, the right-hander allowed four runs in six innings and didn’t earn a decision. During his time with the Isotopes, Fife finished the year with a 2-2 record and 7.01 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts).
Fife has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Dodgers and holds a 4-6 record with 3.66 ERA during his time with the organization. The majority of Fife’s work with the Dodgers came in 2013 when he started 10 games and made two relief appearances.
Given the typical recovery for a Tommy John surgery, Fife is a question mark for pitching in 2015, whether it be with the RedHawks or Dodgers. Should he not recover in time, it would further diminish the number of pitchers with Major League experience available for a promotion if necessary.
Coinciding with that, Josh Beckett’s retirement and the likeliness of the Dodgers buying out Chad Billingsley’s contract, leaves the team once again in need of starting pitching. They were in a similar bind last off-season, and signed Dan Haren and Paul Maholm.
Haren has a player option for 2015, and Maholm is a free agent and is also recovering from season-ending knee surgery.