Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Keeping Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Weekly Schedule — For Now

Entering his first season in Major League Baseball, Yoshinobu Yamamoto faced the question of how often he would pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Starting pitchers in Japan throw once a week. Starting pitchers in MLB historically throw every fifth game.

The questions of when, how, and even if Yamamoto can adapt to a traditional major league schedule came with large stakes. The Dodgers signed Yamamoto in December to a 12-year, $325 million contract. While the Dodgers want to maximize the contract’s value, they must also thread the needle of keeping their new star pitcher healthy, productive, and comfortable in his new surroundings.

So far, the Dodgers have been able to sidestep every question. Yamamoto’s first start came in Seoul on March 21. The Dodgers didn’t play a game that counted for another seven days, allowing Yamamoto to make his next start on eight days’ rest. Because he switched rotation spots with Bobby Miller after the Seoul Series, Yamamoto’s next start lines up for Saturday in Chicago — exactly one week after his last outing.

How much longer can the Dodgers keep this up? Manager Dave Roberts addressed their rotation plans Wednesday:

Roberts’ next decision: Whether to use another bullpen game to give Yamamoto — and potentially his other starters — an extra day’s rest next week. The Dodgers already have an off-day Thursday, when they travel home from Minnesota. Another bullpen game would allow Yamamoto to pitch on six days’ rest again.

The short-term consequences of this decision are relatively small. Thinking long-term, another bullpen game by the Dodgers sets up the possibility of using a six-man rotation the rest of this season — and potentially next year too.

Walker Buehler is currently on the 15-day injured list as he continues his rehab from elbow surgery. He’s set to return soon, perhaps by the end of April. The Dodgers can then insert Buehler into a rotation that already includes Yamamoto, Miller, Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton and Gavin Stone.

Not only would that keep Yamamoto on a schedule somewhat familiar to him from Japan, it would acclimate the Dodgers’ other starters to a rotation six-man rotation that could carry over into 2025.

Shohei Ohtani is expected to be cleared to pitch at some point next year. The two-way star worked exclusively in six-man rotations with the Angels from 2018-23.

If the Dodgers have told Yamamoto they’re planning to use a six-man rotation this year, he wasn’t ready to disclose that fact Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, livestreams, and more!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dodgers Nation (@dodgersnation)

JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button