After Thursday's walk-off win over the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned relief pitcher Ramon Troncoso to Triple A Albuquerque. Although not yet official, this almost certainly means Vicente Padilla will be activated from the disabled list before Friday's game in Chicago. The Dodgers begin a six-game road trip with an afternoon game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Padilla will pitch primarily in relief upon his return. Manager Don Mattingly said this week that he trusts Padilla in any bullpen role, including closer should the need arise. Padilla underwent surgery on February 24 to fix his right radial nerve, which was being entrapped by one of the deep muscles in his forearm. He pitched in two games on a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday and Thursday.Padilla signed a one-year contract this winter with a $2 million base salary and several incentives, up to $6.8 million in relief and up to $8 million as a starter.
Troncoso has struggled for nearly a year, after he was pitched in 14 games in a 20-day stretch in April 2010. He was recalled from Triple A on April 16 when Hong-Chih Kuo was placed on the DL. Troncoso appeared in mop-up duty in two games this week, allowing a whopping 12 hits while facing only 17 batters.
The Dodgers' bullpen has struggled mightily this season, last in the National League in several categories, including a 5.81 ERA. Even though Jonathan Broxton and Matt Guerrier combined to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless inning in Thursday's series finale with Atlanta, the Dodger bullpen allowed 24 runs (21 earned runs) in 22 1/3 innings during their eight-game homestand.
For more news and information on Ramon Troncoso, Vicente Padilla, or on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.