While the Los Angeles Dodgers lost the likes of Brandon Morrow and Tony Watons, they moved to fortify their bullpen over the winter with the signing of right-hander Tom Koehler, a former starting pitcher turned reliever who found success in his new role with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Koehler figured to get the first opportunity as Morrow’s replacement as the primary setup man, but suffered an unfortunate shoulder injury during Spring Training. The anterior capsule strain in Koehler’s right shoulder didn’t require surgery but promptly sidelined him for the foreseeable future.
A clear timetable was provided on when Koehler may return to the mound this season, and he began the year on the 10-day disabled list.
As the midpoint of April approaches, Koehler said he feels well but will continue to take a steady approach with the recovery, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“The strength is there, the range of motion is great, but they want to make sure when I’m back, I’m back for good, and not just for a couple of weeks,” Koehler said. “It feels good today, but we want to make sure it’s good for the long haul.”
Given the unpredictability of Koehler’s injury, it’s certainly a good sign that he has already rebuilt strength in his arm. He may be inching closer to resuming baseball-related activities, but the Dodgers are understandably exercising caution.
Koehler was transferred to the 60-day disabled list last week, as he’ll continue rehabbing at Camelback Ranch until he’s ready to return to the mound.
If he’s cleared at some point, the 31-year-old offers an intriguing option to a Dodgers bullpen that has been somewhat inconsistent in the early going.