8/14/2014 6:41 P.M. ET
Wright to have bigger role in Dodgers' bullpen
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Right-hander Jamey Wright is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has taken notice. The skipper aims to expand the role of the 19-year veteran in the final months of the season.
"We've always kind of kept Jamey for length, but he's kind of worked himself in to the point where it's not really length, it could be matchup situations from the sixth to the eighth, depending who's healthy and who's strong that night," said Mattingly, who would like to take advantage of the fact that Wright has limited lefties to a .161 average.
"I kind of teased him. I said, 'You're our second lefty down there in the bullpen,'" catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He's a guy who, obviously last year he had tremendous success in Tampa. Those are the situations he tended to pitch in -- against left-handed hitters. This year's been no different. He's just a tough matchup, he's got tremendous action on his ball. And the movement, it makes it a tough matchup for left-handed hitters. He's got a devastating curveball."
Wright gave the Dodgers both situational success and length on Wednesday when starter Hyun-Jin Ryu suffered a right gluteus muscle strain while issuing a two-out walk to B.J. Upton in the sixth inning of a game Los Angeles trailed, 3-2.
Wright fanned Ryan Doumit to keep the Dodgers close, and he went on to pitch 2 1/3 scoreless frames in all, lowering his ERA to a career-best 3.05. Ellis said Wright did not get fully warmed up until he was already out on the hill.
"The guy just keeps going along. He's been our anchor in the bullpen," Ellis said. "He can pitch in any situation, in any role -- righties, lefties, it doesn't really matter the matchup. It's always a comforting feeling to see the bullpen doors open and Jamey Wright come trotting out. "
It wasn't easy, but Jansen gets four-out save
ATLANTA -- When Kenley Jansen's cutter met the barrel of Freddie Freeman's bat, it was bad news for the Dodgers. Freeman's double put the tying runs on second and third with two outs as Los Angeles held a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth of Thursday's game against the Braves.
Atlanta was on the verge of completing a comeback, and Freeman was only a few feet short of actualizing that goal. But once Jansen struck out B.J. Upton to end the threat and secure the victory, both the closer, who earned a four-out save, and manager Don Mattingly were glad Freeman did not get even more of that cutter.
"I thought it was topspin. I didn't think it was going out," Mattingly said. "There's a bunch of balls hit here that don't go out of the ballpark, so I was just hoping it stayed in. The ball's traveling pretty good today, so it's good to see him topspin that one."
"I'm just crossing my body a little bit too much and that's why the [velocity] is down," said Jansen, whose cutter was clocked down in the low 90s compared to its usual speed in the mid-90s. "I'm trying too hard to get the ball out there instead of being a little bit more straighter line to home plate, and that's when my [velocity is] up usually."
Ryu to undergo MRI on strained right leg
ATLANTA -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, who exited his start on Wednesday with a right gluteus muscle strain, will undergo an MRI when the Dodgers return to Los Angeles following Thursday's game. Until the team learns the results of the MRI, Ryu's status remains day to day.
"I don't really have a lot of definitive information at this point," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who does not think Ryu will be ready to make his next scheduled start early next week. "I'm hoping we'll find out tomorrow."
Los Angeles has an off-day Monday, which gives the club a couple of options if Ryu can't make his next start but can avoid the DL. The Dodgers could either simply utilize the off-day to skip Ryu's turn or give another spot start to Kevin Correia.
"I don't feel like his chances are very good of pitching on his turn," Mattingly said. "So, let's say he can't pitch -- hypothetically, can't pitch on his turn but may be ready the next time. I think you've got to be very certain that he's going to be able to pitch his next turn.
"On the off-days, that's where all the factors come in. And then again, you're pitching short. That's a hard thing to do, was to go short with guys and then you overuse somebody and then you put yourself in trouble. Obviously, we'll make a decision on all that, but we'll see."
Injured Hanley throws, but not swinging yet
ATLANTA -- Hanley Ramirez has resumed physical activity after a strained right oblique muscle landed him on the disabled list on Sunday, retroactive to Saturday. However, the Dodgers' shortstop is not yet swinging a bat.
"He did a little throwing [Wednesday], just a little bit of movement," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "This is Day 5, I think, and [trainer] Stan [Conte] hasn't said anything about him swinging the bat or anything yet. Just trying to make sure he's throwing, doing some stuff like that to stay active."
Ramirez is batting .277 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs in 100 games this season.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.