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Dodgers option Bobby Miller, who has an 8.07 ERA: ‘I have some work to do’


Dodgers option Bobby Miller, who has an 8.07 ERA: ‘I have some work to do’

PHILADELPHIA — The Los Angeles Dodgers optioned right-hander Bobby Miller on Wednesday, a day after the rookie surrendered nine runs in what manager Dave Roberts called an “embarrassing” loss.

Little has gone right for the 25-year-old this summer. The Dodgers see Miller as a potential bedrock for the rotation, but he carried an 8.07 ERA through seven starts. He missed a couple of months with right shoulder inflammation. The results hardly improved in his return, with Miller showing diminished stuff and velocity in his two most recent starts.

“I have some work to do,” a frustrated Miller said Tuesday night after getting battered by the Philadelphia Phillies. He and Roberts were vehement that Miller’s shoulder was not giving him any trouble, instead citing potential issues with his mechanics.

The solution isn’t obvious.

“You can see it taking a toll on him,” Roberts said. “When I take him out of a game, you can just see the weight and the stress that he’s putting on himself. So I do think that getting him out of this environment is gonna be beneficial. He’s gonna come back, reset, recharged and throwing the baseball the way we know he can.”

Tuesday’s start marked Miller’s final outing before the All-Star break, so the Dodgers opted instead to bring reliever Ricky Vanasco up to take his spot on the active roster. Barring placing someone on the injured list, the soonest the Dodgers could recall Miller would be July 25.

That is not a firm return date. Miller will report to Los Angeles, where he will work with Dodgers staff and coaches including director of minor league pitching Rob Hill. Then, he’ll join Triple-A Oklahoma City for an indeterminate amount of starts.

“Like I told Bobby last night, I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” Roberts said. “No one does. Don’t focus on getting back here. Focus on getting right.”

Miller entered this season with what many considered the highest upside option of the Dodgers’ young starting pitching depth. He was fresh off a season where he emerged as the Dodgers’ most reliable pitching option with a credible case for starting Game 1 of a postseason series. Since then, his star has faded some. Tuesday’s start marked a low point.

Optioning him to the minors comes at the cost of the Dodgers’ rotation depth, which is already whittled down. Clayton Kershaw will require at least two minor-league rehabilitation starts (including his expected outing on Saturday in Oklahoma City) before he’s considered an option for a return. Tyler Glasnow is eligible to come off the injured list on July 24. Yoshinobu Yamamoto is just starting a throwing progression this week as he works back from a strained rotator cuff.

Then there’s Walker Buehler, who continues to work out at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida. He is throwing bullpens and working to try to get himself back to form after posting a 5.84 ERA in his first eight starts coming off a second Tommy John surgery. It’s a rare move, allowing the arm they thought they’d build their rotation around to work reclusively.

“Where Walker was at, he felt that was really a priority for him,” Roberts said. “It made sense to the organization and there’s communication going on among us and between us.”

Roberts said communication between the facility and the Dodgers’ staff is “consistent,” but there is no clear timeline for Buehler, either.

“I can say there’s progress,” Roberts said. “But I really can’t even speak intelligently what that progress is. I really can’t.”

Buehler is ostensibly on the injured list with hip inflammation, one of 12 Dodgers pitchers currently shelved before Miller was jettisoned to the minors. This isn’t something anyone could have envisioned. Nor would anyone have expected the Dodgers to tap into their stock of young pitching this soon. Justin Wrobleski could be in line to pitch Sunday’s finale before the All-Star break. Roberts said River Ryan — a top pitching prospect who is coming off a shoulder injury and has never topped five innings or 75 pitches in a start — could be an option after the break, too.

(Photo of Bobby Miller from July 2: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

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