Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers used a franchise record 39 pitchers during the 2021 season, and among them was Darien Núñez, who originally signed with the organization out of Cuba in 2018.
The 28-year-old began the year at the Dodgers’ alternate site and later earned a spot on Double-A Tulsa’s Opening Day roster. After making just one appearance with the Drillers, Núñez received a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The left-hander spent the next two months with the Dodgers’ top Minor League affiliate before joining the big league team prior to a July 8 matchup against the Miami Marlins.
Núñez made his MLB debut the following day against the Arizona Diamondbacks and allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit over two innings of work.
Núñez appeared in four additional games with the Dodgers — one of which was a spot start against the San Francisco Giants — before he was optioned to Oklahoma City as the corresponding move to the club recalling Luke Raley.
The left-hander returned to the Dodgers on Aug. 4 when Jimmy Nelson was placed on the 10-day injured list. His stay with the club was brief, however, as he was placed on the COVID-related IL three days later.
Núñez rejoined the Dodgers on Aug. 15 and made his final MLB appearance of the season that night against the New York Mets, allowing two runs on one hit while recording just one out.
Núñez was sent back down to OKC the following day but returned to the Dodgers on Aug. 26 as part of a series of roster moves. However, he was optioned to the organization’s top affiliate one day later and remained there through the end of the 2021 season.
Núñez went 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA in six games (one start) for the Dodgers this year. He was much more effective in the Minors, going a combined 7-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 32 games between Tulsa and OKC.
Núñez’s 2021 highlight
Núñez’s best outing of the 2021 season came on July 17 when he tossed a perfect ninth inning to close out the Dodgers’ 9-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. It was his only scoreless appearance of the year.
Núñez remains under team control and figures to see time at both the Triple-A and Major League level next year.
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