Dustin May Returns To Dodgers Starting Rotation Without Pressure

Dustin May is returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation on Saturday, marking the first time he has pitched in a Major League game since May 1, 2021.

He pitched just 1.2 innings that night against the Milwaukee Brewers before walking off the mound at American Family Field due to what was ultimately discovered to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow that required Tommy John surgery.

While May is coming off the 60-day injured list during the same week the Dodgers announced Walker Buehler is poised to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, the team is hopeful a comfortable lead in the National League West standings will prevent any feeling of pressure to be some sort of savior.

“I think that coming off the surgery, I think we were very conservative in his return,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And so now that looking at where we’re in the standings, not having to lean on him, to make sure that No. 1, he continues to build up and stays strong and healthy.

“And No. 2, with that, expect the performance to be there. So absolutely, to not have to fight tooth and nail every single night when he pitches is certainly a luxury that we’re all very grateful for.”

Roberts didn’t have a specific conversation with May to address not putting extra pressure on his shoulders, largely due to not believing one was necessary.

“I think that he’s pretty self aware and aware of the room. He’s a starter, he’s going to play once every five or six days,” Roberts said. “And the days that he doesn’t pitch, we’re still expecting to win baseball games. But I will say, when it’s his day to take the baseball, he’s expecting to make a big impact and win a ballgame.

“So I don’t want to change that mindset. But just still understanding that he’s only going to play once every five or six days, but we’re certainly better with him on the roster.”

May worked on changeup

During his prolonged recovery from Tommy John recovery, May revealed he worked on refining a changeup that thus far has minimal usage in his career.

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