Dodgers Recall Austin Barnes From Triple-A Oklahoma City

The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Austin Barnes, Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios from Triple-A Oklahoma City ahead of Friday’s series opener against the San Francisco Giants. Barnes returns on the first day he was eligible.

Although Oklahoma City saw their season end Monday, the 29-year-old wasn’t yet permitted to join the Dodgers because he was recalled just over one week ago when Russell Martin was placed on the bereavement list.

Barnes has spent a majority of his season with the big league club but was sent down to Triple-A to figure out his swing after Will Smith emerged as a viable starting catcher option.

Barnes put his time in Oklahoma City to good use as he hit .264/.375/.540 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 23 games, which is significantly better than his .198/.288/.333 batting line with the Dodgers this season. He has hit five home runs and 23 RBI in 71 games at the big league level.

While there is no question Smith is the Dodgers’ starter behind the plate, if Barnes has a strong September it is possible that he wins the backup job over Martin heading into the postseason.

Barnes figures to be one of the Dodgers’ final roster additions this month. Manager Dave Roberts said this week the club would not recall Kyle Garlick or Edwin Rios despite their impressive showings both with Oklahoma City and in brief stints with the Dodgers.

“Those guys did a great job for us, but the September call-up is always a difficult one in the sense of rewarding guys who have earned the opportunity to get a September call-up,” Roberts said.

“Kyle and Eddie are just tremendous teammates and guys, but I think we’re very cognizant of keeping the group to as much of a minimum as possible to keep the focus on the playoffs. Sometimes, unfortunately, there’s some casualties. I can’t say enough about Kyle and Edwin and what they did for us.”

The Dodgers do figure to welcome Rich Hill and Alex Verdugo back into the fold at some point. Hill is scheduled to face batters at Dodger Stadium on Friday and if there is not a setback in his recovery from a strained flexor tendon, the veteran should be activated next week.

Meanwhile, Verdugo saw his rehab assignment come to an end because of back soreness. The Dodgers remain optimistic there is still time for the rookie to return this season, and are encouraged his latest trouble is back discomfort resurfacing rather than a relapse of his oblique injury.