Starting pitching depth has been an issue for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past couple of seasons, which was an issue the club appeared to have solved prior to Spring Training this year. However, multiple injuries set in and left the club scrambling for a fifth starter.
After suffering setbacks in his recovery from last May’s shoulder surgery, Hyun-Jin Ryu appears to be on the verge of making his 2016 regular season debut within the next month or so. Ryu threw a live bullpen session on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, facing Charlie Culberson and Trayce Thompson.
“Fastball velocity was good, got up to 88 (mph). Arm speed was good, breaking ball sharp, and the changeup was good, too,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“It was very positive. He threw three innings, 60 pitches total. I think there’s one more live session and then we’ll send him out on a (rehab) assignment.” Roberts added on Wednesday that Ryu is likely to begin a rehab assignment in less than two weeks.
Brandon McCarthy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has also thrown multiple bullpen session. Both pitchers being on the verge of returning is something Roberts naturally is looking forward to.
“I am, we all are (excited),” Roberts said. “Ryu [on Tuesday] was good, McCarthy was good [Monday]. To not get those guys back until June was a reality we realized, but to get them back closer is encouraging. How the pieces fit will be a pleasant problem. You can never have enough pitching.”
Despite the injuries, the Dodgers rotation has still been amongst the best in baseball, ranking sixth with a 3.41 ERA as well as sixth in innings pitched. Roberts emphasized there is no rush to get Ryu and McCarthy back, as he wants them to be healthy upon returning.
“When you have guys already in the rotation, there’s no sense of urgency. We want [McCarthy and Ryu] back and feeling really good,” Roberts said. “As we sit here, and we’re .500, we’re not happy about that, but there’s no sense of panic to get anybody back sooner than they’re ready to be.”