The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the regular season with a plethora of starting pitching depth, but that has since evaporated in the wake of multiple injuries.
Walker Buehler underwent an MRI that revealed a strained right flexor tendon that is requiring him to refrain from throwing for six to eight weeks. Facing a prolonged recovery, Buehler took the opportunity to have a bone spur removed from his right elbow.
Clayton Kershaw also missed a month’s worth of games due to right SI joint inflammation, and Andrew Heaney is now dealing with a left shoulder strain for a second time this season.
Dustin May is among the other Dodgers pitchers working their way back from injury. The 24-year-old is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and continues to make progress toward getting back on the mound.
While May has experience pitching out of the bullpen and could face a shortened period to fully stretch out, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expects him to be reinserted into the starting rotation when he returns, via SportsNet LA:
“We expect him to come back as a starter. If you’re projecting, I don’t see how he’d come back if he’s not built up to five (innings) and 75 (pitches) as a floor. Throwing to hitters, throwing ‘pens, simulated games and throwing in rehab assignments to get to a certain point, we’re still a ways from that point.”
May was emerging as a key for the Dodgers last season before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. He pitched to a 1-1 record, 2.74 ERA, 3.30 FIP and 0.96 WHIP with 35 strikeouts against six walks in 23 innings pitched (five starts).
After going through a steady rehab program during the offseason, May started throwing bullpen sessions toward the end of Spring Training. He recently began facing batters and is on the verge of a beginning a rehab assignment with a Minor League affiliate.
Dodgers taking ‘methodical’ approach with May
May figures to be one potential answer for a Dodgers rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Although his presence should provide a boon, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently said the team remained committed to a deliberate recovery process that was not influenced by injuries.
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