Yency Almonte had been an invaluable member of the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen amidst a breakout season until he was placed on the 15-day injured list at the beginning of August.
The Dodgers hoped the injury would be a short-term issue, but he did not return until Sept. 28, nearly two months after suffering the injury. “I know they were trying to make sure I was healthy,” Almonte said hours after getting activated.
“That’s the biggest thing. I don’t want to go out there and come back quick and get hurt again. So I felt like whatever the timeline had to be, that’s what I was going to do.”
Almonte received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to treat the inflammation around a month ago, and since then, the elbow discomfort “hasn’t bothered him,” and he feels he’s “in a good place right now.”
The right-hander began a rehab assignment in the middle of September, and after his second outing, believed he was fully recovered and ready to help the club.
“That was when I felt like I had my stuff pretty much the way I had it before I got hurt,” Almonte said. “I felt more confident, I felt like I was able to let it go and trust my pitches.”
With the Dodgers playing their final seven games, Almonte is looking to make sure he finishes off the season healthy. “That’s my biggest thing,” he said.
“I’m glad I’m back right now, and I have six or seven games to get out there and hopefully throw two or three innings, be able to let it all go and bounce back.”
Prior to his injury, Almonte was being utilized as one of the Dodgers’ high-leverage arms, and with Craig Kimbrel struggling and Blake Treinen a question to return, it seems likely the 29-year-old will continue to pitch big innings once the postseason rolls around.
“I’m ready to rock,” Almonte said. “My first playoffs, so I’m excited for that.”
Yency Almonte and Tommy Kahnle key in shutting out Padres
In Almonte’s first game back on Wednesday, he worked a perfect eighth inning against the San Diego Padres while striking out one batter, lowering his season ERA to 1.11. Tommy Kahnle then pitched the 10th inning to earn the save as he appears to be the early favorite for the closer role following Kimbrel’s demotion.
Both relievers have spent a large portion of the season on the injured list, but they should still be important pieces for October. “I mean, you can look at it two ways,” Almonte said when asked if they have an advantage being well-rested compared to most high-leverage arms.
“One, being the freshest arm. Or two, being you haven’t thrown in a while. So you want to make sure you’re prepared and healthy to go out there and do your job.”
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