LOS ANGELES -- Desperate times call for desperate measures for the Dodgers, who took a 14-man pitching staff and three-man bench into their game with the Padres on Thursday night.
They recalled right-hander Carlos Frias for long-relief protection with Hyun-Jin Ryu being activated to make his 2016 debut. To make room, Luis Avilan was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City and outfielder Will Venable was designated for assignment.
The unconventional roster is the result of a combination of factors, among them being the injury that put workhorse Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list; the returns to the rotation of Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, who are not expected to pitch deep into games coming off 2015 operations; the 3 1/3-inning start by 19-year-old Julio Urias on Monday; a four-inning start by Kenta Maeda on Tuesday; and the 14-inning loss to Baltimore on Wednesday that depleted an already weary bullpen.
The Dodgers have not had a starting pitcher other than Kershaw go seven innings since May 14. In the last three games, they have had 17 relief appearances totaling 19 2/3 innings.
"Tonight we'll go with a three-man bench," said manager Dave Roberts. "It's a short bench. We thought four was short, but we'll manage. Hope we don't go 14 innings again. We'll get through it. You might see a pitcher take an at-bat tonight other than Ryu."
For the opener against the Padres, the only reserves on the bench are switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, left-handed-hitting second baseman Chase Utley and right-handed-hitting utility man Chris Taylor.
Roberts said he would use a pitcher to pinch-hit or pinch-run if the situation arises. On Wednesday he used Maeda to pinch-run.
Frias, who began this season on the disabled list with a strained oblique, is 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 appearances between Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City as he recovered from the injury. He spent two days with the Dodgers this season but did not pitch.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.