The Dodgers are planning to select left-hander Robbie Erlin onto the big league roster, the team informed reporters (including Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times† They won’t need to make a corresponding move. Erlin will serve as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader against the Cubs, and they already have a pair of vacancies on the 40-man roster.
Erlin is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2020. A former division rival, the 2009 third-round pick spent the 2013-19 seasons as a swing option for the Padres. A quality strike-thrower, he didn’t miss many bats but he rarely handed out free passes or served up home runs. Erlin posted a cumulative 4.57 ERA in that time, but he missed most of 2016 and all of the 2017 season because of Tommy John surgery.
Upon returning, Erlin assumed more of a multi-inning relief role. He started 12 of 39 outings in 2018 and worked 55 1/3 frames over 37 appearances the following season. He split the shortened 2020 campaign between the Pirates and Braves, struggling to an 8.10 ERA in 26 2/3 innings over nine games.
Last year, Erlin joined the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan. He tossed 38 innings of 3.32 ERA ball before returning stateside on a minor league deal with the Dodgers. The 31-year-old has started three of his five outings with Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing 15 runs in 21 2/3 frames with 20 strikeouts and nine walks.
Presumably, Erlin will take on a long relief role in LA, given the strength of the Dodgers’ starting staff. The bullpen has also been excellent in the early going, posting a 2.65 ERA that ranks third-lowest in MLB. However, Los Angeles lost star reliever Blake Trains to the injured list a couple weeks ago, and his recovery from shoulder soreness isn’t going as hoped. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) the righty is headed for an MRI early next week as he continues to deal with discomfort.