When the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Dustin May to Tommy John surgery last season, the expectation was he would not return until some time after the All-Star break this year.
The long layoff included several months of May not being able to throw a baseball, but once cleared to do so, part of the recovery process entailed working on his changeup. It was a pitch May went into the 2022 season having thrown it just 50 times in his young Major League career.
The right-hander otherwise relied on a sinker nearly 40% of the time, curveball (22.8%), four-seam fastball (19%) and cutter (18.5%).
May explained to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group that using the Tommy John rehab process to work on his changeup was in effort to becoming more confident in the pitch:
“I didn’t really have a whole lot of confidence with (the pitch) before surgery, so my thought process … after surgery was, I want to start throwing it as soon as possible,” he said, “so if I end up throwing it, I want to have as much confidence behind it as I could.”
May only threw the changeup three times against the Miami Marlins in his first start back from injury. However, one of them got a foul-tip strikeout. That was among the nine strikeouts he collected while allowing just one hit over five scoreless innings, buoyed by escaping a bases-loaded jam.
“It’s super exciting to know that I’m back and know that I can go guys out when I need to,” May said after the game. “And it was super, super exciting for me to know that I can get out of a jam when I put myself into one. That was huge for the confidence boost and just got to build off this one.”
Dodgers potentially going to 6-man rotation with Dustin May
Now that May is back from the 60-day injured list, and Clayton Kershaw is on the verge of returning from lower back pain, the Dodgers are contemplating using a six-man rotation for a portion of September.
Doing so would not only provide starters with extra rest, but help lighten the load for Tony Gonsolin as he’s already set a career high in innings pitched.
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