Blisters again delay Hill's Dodgers debut

Stripling to start Friday in place of newly acquired lefty; McCarthy questionable for Saturday

Blisters again delay Hill's Dodgers debut

LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill won't start Friday night, and Brandon McCarthy is questionable for Saturday, as problems with the Dodgers' veteran starting pitchers continue.

Hill's lingering finger blisters still are tender, so manager Dave Roberts named rookie Ross Stripling as Friday night's starting pitcher against Pittsburgh. Hill might not join the rotation for another week or more, as he wasn't mentioned as a candidate for any of the games vs. the Pirates.

"After Rich threw yesterday, we feel it's prudent to take more time," Roberts said. "We don't have a date when Rich is going to pitch for us. Rich is doing everything he possibly can, but there's only so much he can do."

The last time the lefty tried to start for Oakland, on July 17, he was only able to throw five pitches, then he landed on the disabled list, where he was when the Dodgers traded for him on Aug. 1.

Hill has been throwing exclusively on flat ground. It's been so long since he faced hitters that the Dodgers now must consider a simulated game or a rehabilitation start to make sure Hill can throw off a mound at maximum effort without a recurrence that would create an emergency for the taxed bullpen the way it did for Oakland.

Roberts suggested that Julio Urias could start on Saturday for McCarthy, who returned from Tommy John surgery only to suddenly lose command and control. McCarthy threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, and Roberts said he will throw another Thursday on the off-day. But the manager sounded apprehensive about committing another start to McCarthy until he demonstrates dramatic improvement. McCarthy has walked 10 in his past two starts, with several pitches behind batters.

"McCarthy will throw a 'pen tomorrow, and we'll make that decision," Roberts said. "Some of it has to do with how Mac feels. The other component is what [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] and I see as far as his pitch execution. If it doesn't happen, we'll make a decision on who starts Saturday."

Brett Anderson, out since Spring Training back surgery, is expected to throw a bullpen session on Thursday that would line him up for his season debut on Sunday.

Bud Norris, on the disabled list with a mild mid-back strain, has been throwing regularly and is eligible to be activated Tuesday, when Kenta Maeda is the likely starter.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.