With the Los Angeles Dodgers scheduled for a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 2, manager Don Mattingly said the club would call up the permitted 26th player for that day. When Mattingly refused to name both starters, many presumed a pitcher from Triple-A Oklahoma City would get the nod.
Given how OKC’s rotation aligned, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland were the likely options. Lee had last started May 29, but the outing was cut short as he threw only 40 pitches in three innings — adding to the speculation he was in line for his Major League debut.
The Dodgers wound up going in a different direction for the doubleheader, with the day’s transactions consisting of calling up Daniel Coulombe, David Huff, Josh Ravin and Ian Thomas. While Lee remained in Triple-A, he failed to make his scheduled start June 3.
He was scratched and sent to Camelback Ranch due to what was reported as a minor injury. On Thursday Mattingly provided more details on Lee’s situation, which may not be as mild as initially believed. “He’s having some tingling in his fingers, and he’s here [Los Angeles] to get checked out,” he said.
When asked about Lee prior to Friday’s game, Mattingly said an update wasn’t yet available and reiterated the prospect is being examined in Los Angeles. On Saturday Triple-A Oklahoma City placed the 23 year old on the seven-day disabled list.
Lee is in his second season at the Triple-A level and is among the pitchers who have benefitted in the club moving on from their affiliation in Albuquerque. Now in a more pitcher-friendly environment, he’s 5-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 10 starts. Last season he finished 7-13 with a 5.38 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 28 games (27 starts).
While the severity of the right-hander’s injury isn’t currently known — at least publicly — recent history isn’t on Lee’s side. Josh Beckett and Chad Gaudin both underwent surgery in effort to treat tingling fingers on their respective throwing hands. It was the second time Beckett battled such symptoms, with the first coming in 2008 when he was still with the Boston Red Sox.
Beckett eventually had a rib removed in a July 2013 surgery to treat his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was caused by pressure being on his nerves. Meanwhile Gaudin underwent carpal tunnel release surgery in May and remains sidelined.
Lee, who was drafted 28th overall by the Dodgers in 2010, is a lifetime 37-38 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and .264 batting average against in his career.