Dave Roberts not ready to declare Alex Wood part of playoff rotation – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — Alex Wood was one of the best starting pitchers in the National League over the first half of the season and made his first All-Star team as a result.

But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not ready to specify Wood’s status on the Dodgers’ postseason roster.

“Fortunately for us, we do not have to make that decision yet,” Roberts said. “We’re still not prepared to make a decision.”

Wood is still most likely to make the postseason roster as the Dodgers’ fourth starting pitcher behind Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill. But the Dodgers have not used a fourth starter in the best-of-five NL Division Series round the past four years with Kershaw coming back to pitch on short rest instead.

With his history of back injuries the past two years, the Dodgers might be less inclined to use Kershaw on short rest. In fact, Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi acknowledged at the time that one factor fueling the acquisition of Yu Darvish in July was the fact that it would deepen the Dodgers’ postseason rotation and make it less necessary to push Kershaw on short rest.

If Wood is not the fourth starter in the NLDS, he could move to the bullpen. He has pitched out of the bullpen occasionally during his big-league career – including the postseason with the Atlanta Braves (in the 2013 NLDS against the Dodgers) and Dodgers (each of the past two years). That would make Hyun-Jin Ryu a candidate to be the swingman fourth starter – who could be bumped if Kershaw is used on short rest. Ryu is not a candidate to pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason because his shoulder and elbow surgeries make it untenable for him to warm up and enter a game on short notice.

Ryu threw a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon to test his injured left forearm. He was hit by a line drive during his start Saturday. Roberts said Ryu’s status for the final four games of the regular season will be determined by how he feels following that bullpen session.

Ryu could make a final regular-season start Friday or Sunday in Colorado “or not at all,” Roberts said. If Ryu has no ill effects from the line drive, a Friday start is most likely.

The only thing Roberts would say about the starting rotation for the final series this weekend is that Kershaw will make an “abbreviated” start on Saturday. “To what extent” it will be abbreviated, Roberts said, “we don’t really know. There’s no number. But will it be abbreviated? Yes.”

Roberts said he would talk with…

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