Thursday, July 25, 2024

Dodgers demote Bobby Miller to let struggling pitcher ‘reset’ even as rotation remains hampered by injuries

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The pitching-starved Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday demoted right-handed starter Bobby Miller to the minors following a brutal outing in the team’s loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night. The club also recalled right-hander Ricky Vanasco in a corresponding move. 

In the minors, Miller will receive close instruction before reporting to Triple-A to start the second half of the season, manager Dave Roberts told reporters, including The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya. Ardaya also notes that there’s presently no timeline for Miller’s eventual return to the majors. Roberts called the move a chance for Miller to “reset.”

The 25-year-old Miller, who was widely regarded as one of the very best pitching prospects in baseball leading up to his strong rookie season of 2023, has struggled badly thus far in 2024. After allowing nine earned runs to the Phillies on Tuesday, Miller’s ERA for the season stands at 8.07 through seven starts and 29 innings. Over that span, he’s issued 18 unintentional walks and permitted seven home runs. Miller’s FIP is 6.31. While his velocity remains well above league standards, he’s also lost velocity on both his fastball and sinker relative to last season. 

The move comes even as the Dodgers are increasingly desperate for rotation arms. Indeed the club’s injured list right now features an entire rotation and then some: Tyler Glasnow (back), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (strained rotator cuff), Walker Buehler (hip discomfort), Clayton Kershaw (recovery from shoulder surgery), Tony Gonsolin (recovery from Tommy John surgery), Dustin May (flexor tendon surgery), and Emmet Sheehan (Tommy John surgery). All those injuries plus Miller’s untimely ineffectiveness mean that lead executive Andrew Friedman may be active in seeking out starting pitching before the July 30 trade deadline. 

The Dodgers enter the second game of their series against Philadelphia on Wednesday night with a record of 55-37 and a 7 1/2-game lead over the Padres in the National League West. SportsLine at present gives the Dodgers, pitching woes and all, a 94.1% chance of winning the division and a 99.6% chance of making the postseason for a 12th straight year. 

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