close
close
Dodgers demote Bobby Miller to minor league to ‘get on the right track’ – Press Enterprise
Dodgers demote Bobby Miller to minor league to ‘get on the right track’ – Press Enterprise

The Dodgers are sending starting pitcher Bobby Miller to Triple-A Oklahoma City in the hopes that he can eventually return to the major league rotation as a better version of himself than the one who has an ERA of 8.07 after seven starts this season. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

PHILADELPHIA — After witnessing the worst start of his major league career Tuesday night, the Dodgers decided there was no place for Bobby Miller in their starting lineup — despite the weak lineup that was already in place.

The 25-year-old right-hander was relegated to the minor leagues on Wednesday.

“First of all, we have to get him right,” Roberts said. “That’s the kickoff. And what’s the best way to get him right mentally, emotionally and mechanically.”

“You have a choice to either carry on as you are and hope that things change – or take him out of the situation, give him an option and give him a fresh start to get out of this performance slump. We just thought that was the best thing for Bobby and for us. He’s a big part of what we want to achieve this year, so we just thought that was the best thing.”

The plan is for Miller to spend the All-Star break working with pitching director Rob Hill and then make one or more starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City after the break before hopefully returning to the Dodgers’ rotation as a better version of himself than the one who has an 8.07 ERA after seven starts this season.

Miller was sidelined for two months with a shoulder injury, but he and the Dodgers are confident he’ll be healthy again, so Hill and the Dodgers team need to “figure out what’s going on” and fix it.

“There were some good curveballs last night, too, but not consistent enough,” Roberts said. “There were some good changeups, but not consistent enough. There were some good fastballs, but not consistent enough to strike out batters.”

“And you can see that it’s taking its toll on him. When I take him out of a game, you can see how much weight and stress he puts on himself. So I think it’s going to be beneficial to get him out of that environment. He’s going to come back, rejuvenated, recharged and throw the baseball like we know he can.”

That version of Miller hasn’t been seen all season. Last season as a rookie, he went 11-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 22 starts, averaging 99 mph with his four-seam fastball. That velocity has dropped to 97.5 mph this year, and Miller has had a much harder time missing bats since returning from the injured list. He has only nine strikeouts in his last four starts, in which opposing hitters posted a .338 batting average against him.

“He’s able to get hitters when he has the power. He’s able to control the ball, especially the fastball. And he’s got his changeup back to a swing-and-miss pitch,” Roberts said when asked what signs Miller is back in form. “Those are things that are most important to me. But you can tell. He’s doing his best to get hitters out, whereas when he’s in a good mood, that’s just not the case.”

The decision to remove Miller from the starting lineup comes at a time when it is in turmoil. Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Walker Buehler are all on the injured list, and Clayton Kershaw is about to return to his rehab duties. The current lineup consists of three rookies (Gavin Stone, Landon Knack and Justin Wrobelski) and one veteran (James Paxton).

In their last ten games before Wednesday, the Dodgers’ starting pitchers allowed 45 runs on 61 hits in 44 innings, including 12 home runs.

“Very,” Roberts said when asked how difficult it was to take a healthy starting pitcher out of the rotation at this point. “But it shows how important Bobby is and that we’re not just putting him out there because he’s a capable pitcher when we know he’s not going to play the way he could. We’re sacrificing a pitcher, a guy who was here for his own good, that’s what we’re doing. And it’s not easy because we need healthy starting pitchers. But it shows how much Bobby means to us.”

SOMEWHERE IN FLORIDA

Right-hander Walker Buehler is trying to fix his own issues by working out at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida. Roberts said Buehler is in contact with the Dodgers’ pitching coaches and conducts bullpen workouts there.

Buehler had a 5.84 ERA in eight starts this season in his return from a second Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon surgery. He was officially placed on the IL because of a hip injury.

By Aurora