As the first half of the regular season came to a close, Los Angeles Dodgers continued to deal with an unusually large wave of injuries, mainly to their pitching staff.
The Dodgers did receive good news on Clayton Kershaw, who has made incremental progress since suffering left shoulder inflammation that was treated with a cortisone injection. Kershaw was still placed on the 15-day injured list due to shoulder soreness, but has played catch multiple times and recently threw a handful of pitches off the mound.
Kershaw is expected to return shortly after the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers starting rotation got a boost when Julio Urías turned in a superb performance in his second outing since missing time with a left hamstring strain.
However, the Dodgers bullpen has become perhaps the most concerning group on the roster. With Tyler Cyr, Dustin May and Alex Reyes out for the remainder of the season, now Daniel Hudson is facing another long road to recovery.
Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson and Shelby Miller additionally are all on varying timelines.
Chris Taylor has been dealing with a right knee injury, and has spent the past few weeks trying to get it under control while on the IL.
After returning to the Dodgers in late June, Hudson was solid in his three appearances after missing most of the first half while getting his surgically repaired ACL into game-ready shape. Over three innings pitched, the veteran right-hander struck out five batters, allowing just two hits with no runs allowed.
But following his most recent outing, Hudson injured his left knee, and will be out for a solid chunk of time.
“It’s a sprain of the MCL, so it’s not surgery,” Roberts said. “It’s more of just time, from what I understand right now.”
Roberts added that he didn’t want to “speculate too much” on a timeline of recovery for Hudson.
Having not pitched at the Major League level since 2021, Nelson has been quietly rehabbing , hoping to have an impact in the Dodgers bullpen in the near future.
“Jimmy is still with OKC,” Roberts said. “I think with him, the first rehab was good until it wasn’t. I’m not sure what his fate is right now.
“The health component is one part of it, but also getting the stuff where it needs to be to be Major League ready and serviceable. That’s something that we haven’t gotten quite there yet.”
With Triple-A Oklahoma City, Nelson is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in eight games. He allowed two runs in three of the past four outings.
Nelson’s 30-day rehab assignment window expired this week, which requires some sort of roster decision from the Dodgers.
Treinen hasn’t pitched at any level since the start of the season, dating back to Spring Training. His most recent step was the club clearing him to begin a throw program in late March.
“He’s in Arizona,” Roberts said. “I just don’t know how close he is either.”
Because of the severity of Treinen’s original surgery to repair the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder, his return schedule is incredibly jaded.
Taylor has been on the IL since mid-June while dealing with right knee pain stemming from a bone bruise and cartilage issue that were treated with a cortisone injection. After missing his first window to return when the Houston Astros visited Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers opted to hold Taylor out for an extended period.
“He is in Arizona,” Roberts said. “The hope is we get him back after the break, but we’ll see.”
Taylor has played for the Arizona Complex League and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga while on a rehab assignment.
Miller has been one of the more unsung names in the Dodgers bullpen, providing them with bulk innings or a leverage option. His 2.40 ERA and ability to get a strikeout when needed played a necessary role for Roberts, but a neck injury that was originally reported as a prior ailment, isn’t healing up.
“He’s still not in a good spot,” Roberts said. “He’s still a ways away.”
Miller last pitched against the Chicago White Sox on June 15, and the three-week timeline Roberts provided in late-June is likely to get pushed back.
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