Dustin May was emerging as a key contributor for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, which required Tommy John surgery.
May has been projected to be out until some time after the All-Star break, and his absence — along with eventual return — is more of a focal point now that the Dodgers rotation took a hit last week as Walker Buehler was removed early from his start against the San Francisco Giants with what the team initially diagnosed as right elbow discomfort.
The right-hander underwent an MRI that revealed a strained right flexor tendon that will require Buehler to refrain from throwing for six to eight weeks. Facing a prolonged recovery, Buehler took the opportunity to have a bone spur removed from his right elbow.
His absence has naturally raised questions as to how the Dodgers starting rotation will remain afloat. May figures to be one potential answer, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said there still isn’t a clear picture for May’s return, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“He’s doing well and we’re going to keep being methodical about the buildup in terms of putting him in the best position to not only be healthy and strong for the rest of this season but also for as far as we can see out,” Friedman said. “We’re evaluating that as we go and how things are progressing. We don’t have a firm timetable on that. But he is checking all the boxes for now and that is the most important thing.”
After going through a steady rehab program during the offseason, May started throwing bullpen sessions toward the end of Spring Training. There has not been any public indication if the 24-year-old advanced in his recovery to facing batters.
Upon clearing that hurdle, May could then begin a rehab process and continue to stretch out to a starter’s workload.
May worked on patience
While May has cleared important checkpoints in his recovery, he admitted the lengthy process to return from Tommy John surgery has been a challenge mentally because of the initial prolonged period he was not permitted to throw.
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