LOS ANGELES ― Ian Gibaut has had a week.
The 28-year-old pitcher made his first big-league appearance of 2022 with the Cleveland Guardians on Monday, pitching 1⅓ scoreless innings at home against the Minnesota Twins. Less than 72 hours later, Gibaut had been placed on waivers and claimed by the Dodgers.
Gibaut’s plans changed again Friday. The Dodgers originally had Gibaut flying out of Columbus, Ohio, late in the afternoon, then swapped him onto an early flight into Los Angeles. He would join his new team in time for Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres.
Gibaut was activated and left-hander Justin Bruihl was optioned to Triple-A, the third bullpen maneuver the Dodgers have made this week. For both Gibaut and his new team, the week has been a whirlwind.
“I couldn’t be happier to be here,” Gibaut said.
Like his new president of baseball operations (Andrew Friedman) and general manager (Brandon Gomes), Gibaut played college baseball at Tulane. He’s enjoyed modest success in eight professional seasons.
Between his appearance for the Guardians on Monday and his previous outing in the majors – September of last year with Minnesota – Gibaut’s fastball gained more than 2 mph of velocity. He also gained a new pitch.
About a week ago, Gibaut said, he was toying with a cutter while throwing to his catch partner at Triple-A Columbus, former Dodgers minor league pitcher Jake Jewell. He liked the way the pitch moved.
“I figured I’d hop on the mound, try it out,” Gibaut said. “I was pretty comfortable throwing it already.”
His first chance coincided with his 2022 big league debut. Gibaut got a couple of Twins hitters to chase the cutter out of the strike zone and miss. Between his new pitch and new velocity, the Dodgers liked what they saw enough to take a flier when the Guardians designated Gibaut for assignment. He cannot be optioned to the minor leagues.
In 28 major league appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Twins and Guardians, Gibaut is 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA. The right-hander has slightly reverse splits in his career, meaning right-handed hitters have had more success against Gibaut historically (.832 OPS vs. .729 OPS for lefties).
Outfielder Mookie Betts continued to make progress toward his return from the 15-day injured list, which could come as early as Sunday or Monday.
Betts took batting practice against a pitching machine, ran the bases, and took ground balls at second base prior to Friday’s game. Manager Dave Roberts said Betts is more comfortable returning as a position player than a designated hitter, and is more comfortable physically at second base than right field.
Betts is attempting to play despite a cracked rib on his left side. Swinging hasn’t presented an issue for Betts so far, Roberts said. On Saturday he will face teammate Caleb Ferguson in live batting practice on the field.
“If he were to play second (base) or right field, (be) very mindful of not diving,” Roberts said. “And if he’s on the bases, (slide) feet-first.”
Utility player Zach McKinstry (neck) participated in baseball activities for a second straight day, and is a couple of days away from heading out on a rehab assignment, Roberts said.
Left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney (shoulder) threw off the bullpen mound.
San Diego (RHP Yu Darvish, 7-3, 3.26 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Tyler Anderson, 8-1, 3.23 ERA), Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Fox, 570 AM