The Los Angeles Dodgers signed veteran right-handed pitcher Kiko Calero to a minor league contracton Friday, but his call-up to the Major League roster can be expected, possibly in the next week.

Following being swept for the first time at Chavez Ravine by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, concerns are once again rising regarding Dodgers pitching. In the three games this weekend, the Dodgers’ pitching staff surrendered 20 runs while the offense could only produce eight runs.

The key to the recent Dodgers success prior to the “Freeway Series” was the ability of the bullpen to relieve excellent efforts from the starting pitching.

In the month of June, the Dodgers are 7-5 while scoring just 43 runs in those 12 games, an average of 3.58 runs per game. If you remove an offensive outburst against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, June 7, in which the Dodgers scored 12 runs, that average drops to 2.58 RPG.

The key pitching that has fueled the Dodgers’ winning record in June has suddenly turned to a weakness as the pitching staff has struggled.

Calero can add experience and depth to a bullpen desperately needing stability; an issue that has plagued them all season. Thus far in his brief work at Triple-A Albuquerque, Calero has two shutout innings while allowing just one hit, with a .143 opponent’s batting average.

Make no mistake: The Dodgers signed Calero with the intention of adding him to the major league bullpen, and if the current pitchers on the roster continue to struggle, it won’t be long until Calero makes his debut in Dodger Blue.

It appears as though every time the pitching staff struggles, the offense picks up the slack, and when the offense lapses, the pitching staff proves invaluable. The Dodgers are just a game out of first place and hold the second best record in the National League.

Perhaps just a few small pieces are missing to solidify a playoff-type roster, and perhaps Calero is one of those small pieces. Dodger fans will most likely know in a few short weeks.


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