Paco Rodriguez has appeared in the most games for any pitcher on the Dodgers. Him and J.P. Howell will be getting used less with the call up of lefty Onelki Garcia.
Onelki Garcia was recalled by the Dodgers on Wednesday to provide another young lefty out of the bullpen. He mainly will be used to give the other Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell some rest as the regular season comes to an end.
Garcia was a third-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2012 draft who has seen some success in the minors in 2013. He pitched for AA Chattanooga and AAA Albuquerque, making 35 appearances where he racked up 67 strikeouts in 64.1 innings.
He was especially effective in AAA down the stretch where he struck out 14 batters over 9.2 innings while walking three. He had great success against lefty hitters in the minors (.149/.281/.149) so he is expected to be used as a specialist in those regards.
Don Mattingly discussed the decision to bring up Garcia on Tuesday.
"It gives him a little taste of what's going on," Mattingly said. "Hopefully it'll be positive for him moving forward."
But mostly he is up to give Rodriguez and Howell a break.
"Onelki, hopefully, will be able to take a little pressure off (Rodriguez, Howell) as far as usage," Mattingly said.
He continued to say that right now, it "kind of felt like a good time to protect Paco and J.P."
The two lefty relievers have been called upon time and time again this season. Rodriguez has made 70 appearances -- tied for the most on the team -- and Howell ranks fourth with 59.
September has been a slight struggle for Rodriguez. In six games this month, he has allowed two runs and four walks. But in July and August combined, he allowed four runs and just two walks in 24 games.
He rocketed through the minors and has never played a full MLB season, so fatigue is definitely something to factor in.
Howell has been used six times already in September, after never playing in more than 11 games in a month this season. If Howell is getting used more often to accommodate some rest for Rodriguez, then the move to bring up Garcia will be helpful to preserve both of their arms for the playoff.
Garcia is eligible to be put on the Dodgers post-season roster, but unless something dramatic happens to Rodriguez or Howell he will not be playing in October.
An injured reliever is not something Mattingly wants to think about, but he did say, "if something happens to one of your lefties, you have to start talking about different options."
The Dodgers used Garcia out of the bullpen in Wednesday's loss to Arizona. He walked one batter and was removed from the game, so hopefully we get a better taste of what this kid has to offer over the next few weeks of the season.