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By Jon Weisman
Brett Anderson has avoided the disabled list for now and has an outside shot at taking his next turn in the Dodger starting rotation Sunday after leaving Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta in the third inning with irritation in the left Achilles’ tendon area.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly told reporters before today’s early game against Atlanta that Anderson is getting tests, but that he showed up to work today in better condition than Dodger vice president of medical services Stan Conte expected he would be. So an expected move to the disabled list for Anderson is on hold.
Anderson initially felt discomfort in the first inning during a grounder by Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons, then decided enough was enough after attempting to field a Jonny Gomes swinging bunt, according to Carlos Collazo of MLB.com:
“(It) just kind of kept getting tired and more sore,” Anderson told Collazo. “I wasn’t able to push off the rubber like I normally was, and it was affecting my command. … Even with all the other (injuries), I’ve never taken myself out, but it was one of those things where I felt like if it got worse then it would make it worse in the long run.”
However, a bullpen that has thrown 11 1/3 innings in the past 40 hours does need some backup, so the Dodgers have optioned Adam Liberatore to Triple-A Oklahoma City and called up Ian Thomas.
Liberatore took a 1.29 ERA and .363 opponents’ OPS into June. Since then, however, those numbers have gone to 7.50 and .917. In July, nine of 19 batters have reached base against Liberatore, with no strikeouts.
This is Thomas’ fourth callup by the Dodgers this season, moving him within one of Daniel Coulombe’s team-leading five. In his most recent appearance, Thomas pitched two shutout innings July 7 against the Phillies, walking one and striking out two.
With Oklahoma City, Thomas had lowered his ERA to 3.16 on June 17, then allowed 10 runs in eight innings across two games (June 27-July 2). In his last two Triple-A appearances, he has pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings.
After Mike Bolsinger pitches today, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will take the Dodgers’ Thursday-Friday starts against the Mets. The Dodgers haven’t announced who will take Saturday’s start in place of Brandon Beachy, and a potential replacement if Anderson can’t go Sunday is also undecided.
Eric Stults, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are the listed Friday-Saturday-Sunday starting pitchers for Oklahoma City. Trevor Cahill is today’s Triple-A starter.
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wrote about the Dodger front office’s pursuit of pitching.
“I don’t know that we could ratchet up our search for starting pitching any more than we already are,” general manager Farhan Zaidi told Saxon.
On the bright side for the Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal is back in the lineup for the first time since taking a hard foul ball off the jaw Sunday, and Carl Crawford (who pinch-ran Tuesday) is making his first start since April 27. Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner have scheduled days off.
Turner, who hit his first homer of July on Tuesday and is 12 for 22 since July 12, but the Dodgers believe that he needs rest every few days to avoid wearing down.