After a breakout 2016 campaign, Grant Dayton was expected to be among the more dependable relievers for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. The left-hander was sharp early but his year was interrupted in April by a left intercostal strain.
Dayton returned from the 10-day disabled list a few days after he was eligible to be activated, and spent just over two weeks with the Dodgers before being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was recalled in June and pitched the entire month before injury again set in.
Neck stiffness forced Dayton to the DL on July 6. He returned two weeks later, only to be put back on the disabled list after days with the same injury. Dayton remained on the disabled list and largely inactive for a prolonged stretch.
He was on the mound Aug. 18 to begin what was expected to be a two-week rehab assignment. That never got going, however, as Dayton was removed while warming for his start with Double-A Tulsa.
Testing on Dayton’s left elbow led to Tommy John surgery begin scheduled. That hardly came as a surprise for the 29-year-old as he was already aware his UCL was far from 100 percent, even though pain was not an issue, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
The elbow injury, which Dayton suffered on a minor league rehabilitation assignment, “wasn’t a surprise to me, because I’ve seen MRIs of my elbow before,” he said.
“I was told the UCL was already in bad shape, but if it’s in bad shape and it doesn’t present any pain, who cares? There’s no telling how long it’s been that way, but quite frankly, it wasn’t giving me any problems.
Dayton appeared in 29 games for the Dodgers, going 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA, 5.72 FIP and 1.31 WHIP. His inflated ERA was a byproduct of a handful of rough games, as Dayton produced 22 scoreless appearances.
He held a 7.71 ERA and 2.14 WHIP in five relief appearances with Oklahoma City. Last season with the Dodgers, Dayton was 0-1 with 2.05 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in 25 games, and was included on their postseason roster.
In addition to missing the remainder of 2016, the southpaw will remain sidelined for a sizable chunk of next season, as recovery from Tommy John surgery is an estimated 12 months.