Edwin Ríos stays hot and ready for Dodgers in victory over Diamondbacks

So far this season, Edwin Ríos’ biggest challenge has been simply staying ready, trying to keep himself sharp between sporadic starts.

Lately, Ríos has been handed a different task.

With starts in six straight games, the left-handed slugger is now simply trying to stay hot.

Ríos did so Friday, hitting an early three-run home run that opened the scoring in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He was making only his second start of the season against a left-handed starting pitcher, in the lineup to face familiar Dodgers foe Madison Bumgarner. And in Ríos’ first at-bat of the game in the second inning, he fell behind in the count 1-and-2.

But when Bumgarner tried to go upstairs with an elevated fastball on the next pitch, Ríos got the barrel to it with an explosive swing, launching a high fly ball that peaked at 101 feet before sailing into the visiting bullpen for a three-run homer.

In just his 69th plate appearance of the season, it was Ríos’ sixth home run of the campaign, second most on the team.

The Dodgers, who were without manager Dave Roberts as he attended his daughter’s high school graduation, hit two other homers against Bumgarner, solo shots from Mookie Betts in the second inning and Trea Turner in the sixth.

Those provided important breathing room on a night rookie right-hander Ryan Pepiot made his third major league start. Once again, Pepiot showed improvement, throwing his fastball with more consistent command to set up his secondary changeup and slider.

In 4 1/3 innings, Pepiot gave up only one run, struck out five and gave up three hits and three walks.

“The main thing for him is if he can get in the zone and get ahead of guys, I think that’s when his stuff plays a little better,” pitching coach Mark Prior said before the game. “He’s a quality guy. He’s a competitor and he’s got great stuff. He’s just got to trust it and let it play.”

Blake Treinen glad for contract certainty

Blake Treinen still doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back on the mound for the Dodgers. But the reliever was relieved to have his contract status for next year guaranteed after the team effectively picked up his $8-million option in 2023 by agreeing to a one-year extension last week.

“I guess it’s just maybe a testament to both parties enjoying that we’re on the same side here,” Treinen said. “I loved being in L.A. I love the organization, teammates, and I love winning. And I’m thankful that they view me as a piece moving forward.”

Treinen has been out for more than a month with a shoulder injury and his timeline for returning remains unclear.

He offered little information to reporters this week — “I just don’t feel like it’s, with all due respect, anybody else’s place but the organization’s with how I’m getting ready to come back,” he said — though Roberts said Thursday the right-hander hasn’t started throwing yet.

Prior said Friday that Treinen is progressing well and could begin playing catch in a couple of weeks.

“He’s been feeling good in all the stuff that they’ve been having him do in the weight room and in the training room that we have,” Prior said.

Short hops

Prior said Clayton Kershaw, who has been on the injured list the last two weeks with joint inflammation in his lower back, played catch up to 135 feet Friday and could be a matter of days from throwing off a mound.

“We’re starting to finally see that progression of our build to where we can start envisioning getting on the mound sooner than later now,” Prior said.

Reliever Tommy Kahnle, on the other hand, is facing a longer absence because of an injury to his right elbow. Kahnle made only four appearances in his return from Tommy John surgery this year before going back on the injured list this month.

“It’s been a slow recovery from him to try to get to a point where they feel comfortable about kind of taking that next step,” Prior said. “I think that’s just a big TBD on a lot of fronts right now.”

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