LOS ANGELES -- The shorthanded Dodgers rotation will finally get a lift Sunday, when veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy makes his 2016 debut against the Colorado Rockies, manager Dave Roberts said before Friday night's game. The news came on a day when the team placed outfielder Joc Pederson and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershawon the disabled list.
McCarthy will be making his return from Tommy John surgery, after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in April 2015. It was welcome news for a Dodgers club that has dealt with injuries to the starting staff for much of the season.
"We kind of sped it up a bit because of the circumstances," Roberts said of McCarthy's return, "but Brandon's excited to get back, and we expect him to pitch well on Sunday."
McCarthy's scheduled return Sunday was somewhat surprising, given that his most recent start was a five-inning effort for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday.
Roberts was initially asked for the latest on McCarthy's rehab, and after explaining that he would start Sunday, Roberts was asked to clarify where.
"Here," Roberts said, smiling. "He's going to start for the L.A. Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. And he's a full go."
McCarthy's return comes amid a first half of the season in which the theme for the team has been pitchers being added to, rather than removed from, the injured list. In addition to McCarthy and Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Andersonand Alex Wood currently sit on the DL.
Kershaw, who has a mild disk herniation in his back, was feeling "considerably better" after undergoing an epidural, according to Roberts.
"I think that, you know, everyone uses that word 'depth' as just a standard line, but it really has played out that way," Roberts said. "Without it, I don't know where we'd be. Guys have had to step up certainly. But we've really tapped into starting pitching depth. ... It is nice to get one of our guys coming back. Hopefully we get more of that."
McCarthy, who signed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Dodgers in December 2014, was 3-0 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts last season before his injury. Roberts said that, while Kershaw's injury might have slightly accelerated McCarthy's return, the Dodgers are confident he can perform.
For the Dodgers, who remain in contention at 45-37 despite the injuries, having any options at all probably feels like a luxury.
"I think with the circumstance with what happened to Kersh, we realized that we had some options," Roberts said. "In talking to Brandon and figuring out where he's at ... things kind of fell in line with his start date. We're looking forward to Brandon being here. He's the best option we have."
Pederson injured his non-throwing shoulder in the Dodgers' 6-5 victory Tuesday after crashing into the center-field wall while chasing down a drive off the bat of Brewers slugger Chris Carter. Pederson collapsed after making the catch and laterwas escorted off the field.
The Dodgers activated right-hander Bud Norris, acquired on Thursday in a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves, to start in Kershaw's place Friday. Norris got the win after pitching six shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk and striking out eight in a 5-0 win over Colorado.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Brandon McCarthy to make 2016 debut Sunday; Joc Pederson to DL
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