LOS ANGELES – Newly signed Dodgers right-hander Edinson Volquez is going to work out of the bullpen, at least for now, but it’s possible he may get a chance to start in the final month of the season.
The Dodgers made the signing of Volquez, 30, official on Friday. They cleared room on their roster by sending reliever Chris Withrow to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Volquez was released by the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, the same day he failed to finish the first inning against the Chicago Cubs, allowing five hits and five earned runs in two-third of an inning.
Volquez had a 9-10 record and a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts this season.
“For right now, he’s going to pitch out of the ‘pen,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I know he pitched about a week ago, and he’s been throwing a little bit. If the situation arises, I’d like to get him in there as soon as possible, just to get him on the mound and get him into a game.”
The Dodgers don’t know if Volquez can become an upgrade over No. 5 starer Chris Capuano, but they’re hoping a few sessions with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt can help figure out Volquez’s problems.
“When you get to this point, you’re looking for one start that can help you win a game,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “You’re looking for any way you can to improve your club. It doesn’t have to be dramatic.”
Mattingly left open the possibility that Volquez might start at least once, saying, “He’s pretty much been a starter. We like his stuff, and we like what we think he’s capable of doing. But as of right now, it starts with the ‘pen and we’ll figure that out.”
In other Dodgers news:
— Right fielder Yasiel Puig was back in the lineup after being pulled from a game Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs. Mattingly, who said he planned for Puig to play against the Padres, had him batting leadoff.
“It’s not a test tonight,” Mattingly said in response to a question. “Yasiel’s in the lineup. We’ve talked about; it’s over. It’s not something that continues on. He understands where we’re coming from.
“I like Yasiel. He’s a great player, he’s a good kid, and I think he’s going to help us win. So I want him in there.”
— Matt Kemp’s first rehab game at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night was “OK,” Mattingly said. The center fielder is expected to remain there through Sunday and will likely be called up Monday when the Dodgers open a road trip at Colorado.
Kemp went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his second rehab game on Friday.
“It sounds like he felt good physically,” Mattingly said. “That’s the most important thing. I don’t know if I as expecting a whole lot, like it would look like he’s in mid-season form or anything with the amount of time he’s missed so far. It’s part of the process of getting his timing back.”
Kemp is expected to play center field Friday night for the Quakes, whose season ends Monday.