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Justin Wrobleski strikes out four in MLB debut for Dodgers

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Justin Wrobleski strikes out four in MLB debut for Dodgers


LOS ANGELES — When the Dodgers departed Spring Training back in March, left-hander Justin Wrobleski reported to Double-A Tulsa ready to prove that he could compete in the upper Minors and, hopefully, reach the Majors as soon as the 2024 season.

Since then, Wrobleski, the Dodgers’ No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, became one of the fastest-rising players in the Minors. His whirlwind season reached its peak on Sunday as Wrobleski made his Major League debut, allowing four runs over five innings in the Dodgers’ 9-2 loss to the Brewers at Dodger Stadium.

“I felt good,” Wrobleski said. “It was just kind of a matter of being grateful for the moment. That’s kind of the big theme, I was on the way over here today and was just [feeling] like, ‘I’m really thankful for the opportunity. At this point, you’re already here. Let’s just do it.’ I had a lot of fun.”

The afternoon got off to a dream start for Wrobleski, who retired Jackson Chourio on the first pitch he threw at the big league level. His first strikeout came in the second inning against Brewers star shortstop Willy Adames. Wrobleski allowed just one hit the first time through the order, but that was quickly erased by a Vinny Capra double play in the third.

In the fourth, however, Wrobleski started to run into some trouble. Two batters after walking Chourio to start the inning, the southpaw was taken deep by All-Star Christian Yelich on a slider that caught too much of the zone. In the fifth, Wrobleski then allowed another two-run homer to backup catcher Eric Haase.

“He’s really sure of himself as far as knowing who he is as a person, as a ballplayer,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I’m really, really impressed with the way he carries himself, the way he carried himself today. The emotions didn’t get too much for him. I know his stuff plays here.”

While the end results weren’t the best for Wrobleski, the 23-year-old showed signs of why he has become one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. He featured a mid-90s fastball, with his hardest pitch of the afternoon a 97.8 mph four-seamer. Wrobleski pairs that with a cutter, slider and changeup, making him a threat against both lefties and righties.

“I think that kid’s special,” said Brewers manager Pat Murphy. “I don’t know if he’s their top prospect or one of their top prospects, but I think that kid’s good. He has great poise, great feel, he holds runners great. He’s just going to get better and better. If he stays with the Dodgers, he’s going to pitch a long, long time.”

Even with Wrobleski’s success in the Minors this season, his opportunity in the big leagues came much earlier than expected. With the Dodgers down Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, paired with their desire to give their starters an extra day of rest between starts, Los Angeles was in need of an extra starter for one turn through the rotation.

Roberts said Wrobleski will be optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but added that the left-hander will get another opportunity at some point later in the season.

Starting pitching will be a major need for the Dodgers over the next three weeks before the July 30 Trade Deadline. But until then, pitchers like Wrobleski will get an opportunity to prove that they belong.

“That first time out there, I wanted to make sure I really took it in,” Wrobleski said, “and kind of go out there and take a look around the stadium, like ‘Alright, there’s four decks there. That’s pretty cool.’ Cool stadium, I love it here. But then it was kind of [time to] get right to work.

“Be thankful for it, then get to work.”



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