Justin Wrobleski solid in MLB debut, but two mistakes prove costly in Dodgers loss

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Justin Wrobleski didn’t suffer many growing pains in his MLB debut Sunday afternoon.

The few lessons he did learn, however, proved costly in the Dodgers’ 9-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Called up after just two career triple-A appearances for a spot start in the Dodgers rotation, the 23-year-old Wrobleski made just two real mistakes Sunday.

The only problem: Both of them left the yard.

In the fourth inning, Wrobleski hung a slider that former MVP Christian Yelich crushed to center field for a two-run home run. In the fifth, Wrobleski was punished for catching too much of the plate again, throwing a center-cut fastball that veteran catcher Eric Haase hammered for another two-run shot.

That was plenty of offense for the Brewers (53-39), who avoided a weekend sweep at Chavez Ravine by holding the Dodgers’ lineup one for nine with runners in scoring position and stranding 11 men on base.

Three weeks ago, Wrobleski was a rising — yet not widely known — name in the Dodgers’ minor-league farm system.

An 11th-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State in 2021, the left-hander impressed with a 2.90 ERA in high-A last season, then went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 13 double-A starts to begin this season.

That production earned Wrobleski, the 13th-ranked prospect in the Dodgers system according to MLB Pipeline and a call-up late last month to triple-A Oklahoma City, where he gave up five runs in 10 ⅓ innings over two starts the last couple weeks.

Then, with the Dodgers electing to give the rest of their rotation an extra day of rest to finish this six-game homestand, the team turned to Wrobleski to fill the gap Sunday, making him the second starting pitching prospect to debut for the club this season (joining Landon Knack) and eighth in the last three years overall.

Wrobleski figures to be one of several young arms the Dodgers will lean on for depth over the second half of the season.

The club’s triple-A rotation also currently features River Ryan (their No. 4 overall prospect) and Kyle Hurt (who is their No. 5 prospect, but hasn’t pitched since leaving a game alongside a trainer earlier this week).

While the Dodgers could still use another frontline pitcher to compensate for the loss of Yoshinobu Yamamoto — who was also on an All-Star trajectory before suffering a strained rotator cuff in his shoulder last month — the team’s young pitching pipeline has eased their need for bottom-of-the-rotation additions leading up to MLB’s July 30 trade deadline.

Instead, as Sunday’s lackluster offensive performance — a two-run homer from Chris Taylor was the Dodgers’ only offense — once again showed, another bat might be a more pressing need for the club.

Kershaw throws sim game

Clayton Kershaw’s recovery process from offseason shoulder surgery was back underway Sunday morning, as the left-hander threw two innings in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium.

The outing was Kershaw’s first time facing live hitting since reporting soreness in his shoulder following a rehab outing with single-A Rancho Cucamonga last month.

Kershaw stopped throwing for about a week after that, during which time he got an MRI that revealed no new damage in his shoulder, as well as injections that helped alleviate the pain.

This week, he began playing catch again. After Sunday’s outing, he should be ready to resume his minor-league rehab stint next week, too, though manager Dave Roberts didn’t know exactly when or with which affiliate that next start will take place.

“I thought Clayton was good,” Roberts said of Kershaw’s outing Sunday, in which he faced big-league teammates Gavin Lux, James Outman and Cavan Biggio, as well as a couple minor-league hitters. “We accomplished what we wanted to.”

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