By Jon Weisman
Mike Bolsinger has been officially reinstated from the disabled list to start tonight’s game in Anaheim against the Angels, with infielder Charlie Culberson being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Bolsinger had positioned himself as the team’s No. 5 starter to open the season when he injured his oblique warming up for his March 20 Spring Training start. That spot in the rotation then went to Ross Stripling, who pitched 7 1/3 no-hit innings in his MLB debut and has a 4.26 ERA in 38 innings across seven starts.
Tonight’s game is a spot start for Bolsinger to give the others in the Dodger starting rotation an extra day of rest, with Stripling scheduled to pitch Thursday. Dave Roberts said Tuesday that Bolsinger was a candidate to stay on the roster and pitch out of the bullpen following tonight’s game.
The 28-year-old Bolsinger had a 3.62 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with 98 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings last year for the Dodgers, making 21 starts. His ERA was as low as 2.83 at the end of July, when he was optioned to the minor leagues to make room for trade acquisition Alex Wood.
In eight rehab innings with Oklahoma City, Bolsinger allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Kiké Hernandez will be the Dodgers’ backup shortstop behind Corey Seager, who has a .404 OBP while slugging .629 in 99 plate appearances since April 22. The left-handed hitting Seager is OPSing .959 in 90 career plate appearances against lefty pitching.
The Dodgers could be playing with a four-man bench tonight — three if Adrian Gonzalez’s lower back continues to balk — but they won’t need to pinch-hit for a pitcher until Friday at San Diego at the earliest.