After previously managing to push through neck discomfort during Spring Training, the issue again began to plague Ross Stripling last month and led to biceps tendinitis that prompted the Los Angeles Dodgers to place him on the 10-day injured list.
At the time, Stripling had trouble playing catch and was projected to potentially miss multiple starts. Not long after he was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga but was subsequently shut down because the neck pain resurfaced.
Given the setback, the Dodges erred on the side of caution when determining when Stripling could resume a throwing program. As a result, he’s not expected to be reinstated from the IL until active rosters expand in September.
With that date approaching and Stripling having made progress in his recovery, he’s expected to pitch in an Arizona Summer League game this week, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Stripling, recovered from neck and biceps irritation, said he’s scheduled to throw three innings in an Arizona Summer League game on Tuesday. How he does and feels will determine if he needs further rehab action or a Sept. 1 activation.
Because of time Stripling has spent on the injured list, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he will pitch out of the bullpen upon being activated.
“I do think when you’re talking about where we’re at on the calendar with this injury that he sustained, the bullpen, that option is probably the most logical,” Roberts recently explained. “The buildup is substantially less, which is a good thing as far as him coming back to us.”
A potential need for Stripling in the rotation has been lessoned by Rich Hill making steady progress as he works to return from a flexor strain, and the contributions by Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman maintained there is ample time for Hill to be built up as a starter despite the veteran left-hander not having pitched since June 19. Furthermore, it may be ambitious based on the fact Hill is likely two weeks from returning. Hill has already expressed a willingness to start or pitch in relief.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers continue to keep their options open with May and Gonsolin. May’s first audition as a reliever didn’t go well, and he’s due to make a start Monday against the San Diego Padres. However, Roberts said May will receive more opportunities to appear out of the bullpen.
The same might apply to Gonsolin as well, when those could come is unclear. He’s made consecutive starts since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
As for Stripling, he has 4.02 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 15.2 innings over 14 appearances out of the bullpen this season. He’s 2-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 12 starts.