Dodgers ask top pitching prospect Bobby Miller to ‘just be yourself’

ATLANTA — Bobby Miller will make his major-league debut Tuesday and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had one piece of advice for the 24-year-old right-hander with an explosive fastball.

“Just be yourself,” Robert said.

“Don’t try to throw 110 (mph). Just throw 100 and then it’ll be there. … Enjoy the moment. You’ve earned it. You belong here. And go compete.”

Miller has earned it in rapid fashion. The 29th pick in the 2020 draft he has just 183 minor-league innings under his belt including just four starts at Triple-A this season after an extended time at Camelback Ranch this spring due to shoulder soreness.

But Roberts said Miller probably doesn’t know how big of a jump he is about to make.

“I hope he doesn’t. I like the naiveté is bliss,” he said. “Obviously it’s hard not to walk into Truist Park and you see the third deck, you know your family and friends are coming and there’s those butterflies and that should happen.

“Everybody handles it differently. … I’m sure it’s hard not to feel the gravity of this moment for him and his family.”

Miller’s “big stuff” is what convinced the Dodgers to give him this opportunity so early in his professional career.

“It was a spring ’pen and you could hear it,” Roberts said of his first impression of Miller. “You could hear the ball. It was a different sound hitting the catcher’s mitt. I didn’t really appreciate how athletic he was and the way his body moved and how easy the throw was to then see three digits.

“Bobby is a great competitor and expects a lot from himself … which could be good or bad. But uber-talented.”

Fellow rookie Gavin Stone made his second big-league start Monday against the Braves and Roberts said he “is going to have some leash” in the rotation with Dustin May expected to miss at least a month with his elbow injury. How long Miller will be around “we don’t know right now,” Roberts said, indicating it could be contingent on when Julio Urias (hamstring) and Michael Grove (groin) return from their injuries. Grove went 4⅓ innings in a rehab start for OKC on Sunday.


Clayton Kershaw went on the bereavement list Monday. He is expected to rejoin the Dodgers for their series in Tampa this weekend and start Saturday.

Right-hander Wander Suero was designated for assignment. Suero had an 8.10 ERA in four appearances with the Dodgers.

That cleared two roster spots for Stone and the latest fresh arm in the bullpen, right-hander Tayler Scott, to be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Scott, 30, had 1.08 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 16⅔ innings for OKC this year.

Additionally, right-hander Gus Varland was returned to the Dodgers and assigned to Triple-A. Originally acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in Feb. 2021, Varland was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Rule 5 draft last December and made the Brewers’ season-opening roster after striking out 17 of the 35 batters he faced in spring training.

Varland spent time on the injured list after being hit in the hand by a comebacker but allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in 8-2/3 innings and was designated for assignment last week. Because of his Rule 5 status, any team claiming him would have had to carry him on their active roster for the remainder of the season or offer him back to the Dodgers. He went unclaimed on waivers and was returned to the Dodgers.


Urias is expected to test his injured left hamstring by throwing a bullpen session in Tampa this weekend. Urias will be eligible to come off the IL on June 3 (during the New York Yankees’ series in L.A.) and the Dodgers are optimistic he will be ready to start that weekend.

“I think right now it’s set in pencil – that start against the Yankees – because if you’re going to do this, you have to make sure he’s 100 percent,” Roberts said.


Dodgers (RHP Bobby Miller, MLB debut) at Braves (RHP Spencer Strider, 4-1, 2.96 ERA), Tuesday, 4:20 p.m., SportsNet LA, TBS, 570 AM

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