Heading into Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced multiple question marks in their starting rotation. Those multiplied when Brett Anderson needed surgery to repair a bulging disk in his back, and Hyun-Jin Ryu’s recovery from last May’s shoulder surgery stalled.
The Dodgers had an natural solution to fill Anderson’s void, elevating Alex Wood from the presumed sixth starter’s spot to into the rotation. That left an assortment of pitchers competing to be named the fifth starter.
After weeks of competition, the job appeared to be Mike Bolsinger’s. However, on the day it became apparent the Dodgers would go with Bolsinger to round out their rotation, he suffered an oblique strain while warming up for a March 20 start.
The right-hander expressed confidence he’d recover in time for Opening Day of the 2016 season, despite a traditional timetable suggesting Bolsinger would miss at least one month. Such has been the case, as he was one of 10 Dodgers to open the year on the disabled list.
Just over two weeks ago, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Bolsinger wasn’t anywhere near a return. Now, however, Bolsinger has begun throwing bullpen sessions, according to Andy McCullough of the LA Times:
Mike Bolsinger has begun throwing bullpen sessions at the Dodgers complex at Camelback Ranch, Manager Dave Roberts said. Bolsinger, who is recovering from a strained oblique, has already completed two sessions without incident. His fastball velocity was clocked at 87 to 88 mph. “He’s coming,” Roberts said.
For comparison, Bolsinger’s fastball velocity hovered around 87 mph last season. In 21 starts, he was 6-6 with a 3.62 ERA, 3.91 FIP and 1.36 WHIP. Over three Spring Training starts this year, Bolsinger tossed a combined nine innings, allowing two runs on five hits, and had six strikeouts to three walks.
When Bolsinger will return and what capacity that will be in, is still undecided. He may be a factor in the rotation given the innings limit on Stripling, or Bolsinger could head to Triple-A Oklahoma City, particularly if Anderson, Brandon McCarthy or Ryu make a successful recovery.