While rotation depth was considered to be a strength of the Los Angeles Dodgers before the season opened, the team didn’t catch many breaks when it came to injuries. From Spring Training to three months into the season, the Dodgers have had seven starting pitchers spend time on the disabled list.
The multiple setbacks in Hyun-Jin Ryu’s recovery didn’t help matters, though Brandon McCarthy essentially hit the target timeline set when he returned from Tommy John surgery on Sunday. Ryu gets to add his name to that list on Thursday when he faces the San Diego Padres.
That leaves Brett Anderson as the lone holdover from last year’s starting rotation who has yet to pitch in a game this season or be near a return. He underwent back surgery in early March to repair a bulging disc that called for three to five months of recovery time.
Anderson began playing catch last month and according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, advanced to throwing his first bullpen on Tuesday:
Brett Anderson threw his first bullpen session since March back surgery today.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 5, 2016
Anderson has struggled to remain healthy for a duration of his career, but he’s coming off a clean season in 2015 when he went 10-9 over 31 starts with a 3.69 ERA, 3.94 FIP and 1.33 WHIP.
He led the Majors with a 66.3 ground ball percentage while setting a new career highs in starts (31) and innings pitched (180.1).
Anderson accepted the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers as an admitted gamble on himself to remain healthy and test free agency after the 2016 season, when there will be a weaker class of starting pitchers.