While the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation projects to have improved depth in 2016, two pitchers who factor into that are coming off respective season-ending surgeries.
Brandon McCarthy, tabbed as the Dodgers’ No. 4 starter last season, was lost May 1 when he underwent Tommy John surgery. He was joined on the shelf by Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder repaired.
The timetable for Ryu remains somewhat of an unknown. He said last month the recovery process won’t be rushed, with the focus placed on preparing for a full season as opposed to pitching in Spring Training.
Shortly after those comments, Ryu threw off a mound for the first time since last May’s surgery. The Dodgers have been cautious in their handling of the South Korean native since camp opened last week.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Ryu is behind other pitchers:
Roberts said Ryu is "a couple weeks" behind rest of pitching staff "give or take a couple weeks … It's just so hard to say." #Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 22, 2016
That being said, Ryu threw another bullpen session on Monday — with extra rest since his first bullpen of Spring Training — seemingly without issue, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
With Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts watching, Ryu finished 30-pitch session strong with no apparent discomfort.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 22, 2016
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts said last week they anticipate Ryu starting at least one Cactus League game, but were unsure of a target date.
In two seasons with the Dodgers, Ryu is 28-15 with a 3.17 ERA, 2.97 FIP and 1.19 WHIP in 56 starts.