Throughout the offseason and entering Spring Training, the buzz word surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation was depth. Although Zack Greinke was lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers lengthened their rotation by signing Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda.
Additionally, the organization’s young pitching prospects were inching closer to their respective Major League debuts. Los Angeles figured to be without Brandon McCarthy at the outset of the 2016 season as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.
Then last week, Hyun-Jin Ryu confirmed he wouldn’t be part of the rotation by Opening Day and is targeting a return in May.
The Dodgers’ depth will now be further tested as Brett Anderson is scheduled to undergo back surgery and will miss the next three-to-five months, per J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group:
Dave Roberts says that Anderson has a bulging disk. Arthroscopic surgery. 3-5 months recovery time.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) March 3, 2016
Anderson felt the issue in his back after throwing live batting practice Tuesday. Outside of battling a sore left Achilles tendon that forced him to take an extra day of rest between starts, Anderson was a model of health in 2015, which was a welcome change.
During the 2011 offseason, Anderson was recovering from Tommy John surgery in July of a disappointing year with the Oakland Athletics.
Soon after returning in 2012, Anderson suffered an oblique strain in mid-September, causing him to miss the remainder of the regular season; he did manage to make one start in the playoffs.
Anderson’s 2014 season with the Colorado Rockies was complete with a broken left index finger suffered while taking an at-bat in April, and season-ending back surgery in August.
Anderson was 10-9 over 31 starts last season with a 3.69 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 3.51 xFIP, 1.33 WHIP and an MLB-best 66.3 ground ball percentage. He set new career highs in starts (31) and innings pitched (180.1).
The left-hander rejected multiyear offers to re-sign with the Dodgers by accepting the club’s one-year, 15.8 million qualifying offer. Anderson was scheduled to start Sunday’s Cactus League game against the San Francisco Giants.
With Anderson and Ryu both slated to begin the season on the disabled list, it essentially guarantees Alex Wood a spot in the rotation. Others who figure to now enter the picture are Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and a handful of prospects.