During the early days of Spring Training this year, manager Dave Roberts noted the Los Angeles Dodgers were generally healthy, and particularly so with key players. It was a welcomed change from previous years that saw Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, among others, slowed by injury.
“There’s a couple guys with some early things that we’re keeping an eye on but as far as kind of overall health, this is as healthy as we’ve been and as deep as we’ve been as well,” Roberts said.
That changed shortly after, as the likes of Dustin May, Jimmy Nelson and Joc Pederson were held out of workouts due to respective injuries. Nelson made his way back to throwing a bullpen session but experienced discomfort and was shut down for a second time.
Meanwhile, May and Pederson began to make progress in their recoveries just before Major League Baseball cancelled remaining Spring Training games and delayed the start of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said both players have since made a full recovery during the layoff, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Friedman said Joc Pederson and Dustin May are essentially recovered from injuries they were nursing when camp was suspended and should not be limited when action resumes. Pederson had resumed playing Minor League games at the pause.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 26, 2020
Pederson appeared in a Minor League game days before MLB suspended operations, and was tracking toward seeing his first taste of Cactus League play. However, Roberts noted the 27-year-old outfielder was still experiencing some trouble with throwing to bases.
Meanwhile, May resumed playing catch at the beginning of the month but the Dodgers understandably were maintaining an abundance of caution. He had previously throw out to 120 feet, only to feel discomfort and be shut down for the time being.
The time May missed led to Roberts acknowledging a start with Triple-A Oklahoma City was likely in the cards. “I just don’t see it making a whole lot of sense, as a young player, to put him in the ‘pen out of camp,” Roberts said last month.
“We understand he’s done some really good things for us. We’re just encouraging Dustin to control what he can control. Right now it’s get healthy, get on the mound and build up that pitch count.”
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