The Dodgers pitching depth put to the test again as another starter goes down

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said yesterday that starter Mike Bolsinger, who was presumed to be the fifth starter given Zach Lee’s demotion, is dealing with an oblique injury and could begin the season on the disabled list. Others with the Dodgers are calling it an abdominal injury.

Either way, the competition for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation is going to continue. Carlos Frias and Zach Lee are the most likely possibilities. The Dodgers had a lot of starting pitching options entering camp, but those ranks are getting thinner by the week. Brett Anderson is out for months. Brandon Beachy is dealing with tendinitis. There have always been at least mild concerns about how well Scott Kazmir will hold up given his second half of 2015.

With God (a/k/a Clayton Kershaw) all things are possible, but overall, there are a lot of innings to be covered in Los Angeles.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.