As it’s been nearly 10 days since we’ve put together our last injury report, there hasn’t been any changes to the disabled list of the Dodgers, outside of several cases of improvement to a few players who could contribute to the club down the stretch run of the season.
After being placed on the shelf more than two weeks ago with a bruise on his foot, lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu is getting closer to returning to the club. Before Friday’s opener against the Marlins in Miami, Ryu successfully completed an abbreviated simulated session of sorts to backup catcher Austin Barnes. Manager Dave Roberts indicated that the 30-year-old southpaw would not return to the team during the current road trip, but could find a spot on the 25-man roster when the Dodgers head home to face the Braves on July 20.
Roberts also explained that it’s still yet to be determined exactly which role Ryu will play on the pitching staff upon his return, however, many believe that he’s destined for long man duty out of the bullpen, a spot in which he excelled briefly at one point earlier in the season. As it stands now, the Los Angeles starting five consists of resident ace Clayton Kershaw, co-ace Alex Wood, veteran righty Brandon McCarthy, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda.
Lefty reliever Grant Dayton appears to be close to full health after making his second rehab appearance on Monday evening, this time for High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Dayton pitched a perfect eighth inning in the Quakes’ 4-3 victory over Stockton. On Saturday, the 29-year-old Alabama native was also given one full inning of work for the Arizona League Dodgers. Depending on whether or not the club acquires a lefty relief specialist before the non-waiver trade deadline, Dayton may be looked upon to provide a high number of critical innings down the stretch. For all of 2017, he’s posted a somewhat disappointing 3.63 ERA and a 4.70 FIP over 22-1/3 innings with 20 strikeouts.
Dayton was sent to the disabled list on July 6 with neck stiffness.
Despite a number of productive rehab appearances from veteran lefty starter Scott Kazmir, progress is still slow, and the management crew of the Dodgers doesn’t see him returning to the team anytime soon, primarily due to his lack of velocity. In his most recent outing last weekend for Rancho, Kaz’s heater was sitting in the 87 MPH range while only topping out at 89.
“Do we want him here? Absolutely. A sense of urgency, no,” Roberts said recently. “With the luxury of arms we have at our disposal, we want him to be right. That’s the main thing. To get him back here and not be right doesn’t do anyone a service.”
In spite of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez showing small signs of progress over the past few weeks recovering from a herniated disc in his back, Roberts still believes the veteran is “multiple weeks” away from returning. Gonzo has been playing catch, hitting off a tee, stretching and running, but recent projected dates of a return have been set for early September. Gonzalez recently told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he plans on returning during late summer, regardless of his medical condition.
“Put it this way, even if I’m not 100%, I’m still going to play in September because what I have is what I have,” Gonzo explained. “If it doesn’t get better with all this time off, it’s not going to get better, so I might as well learn to play with medication.”
Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season back on June 13.
There haven’t been any new developments regarding the progress of fan-favorite Andre Ethier, righty reliever Chris Hatcher, veteran outfielder Franklin Gutierrez or lefty relief pitcher Adam Liberatore since the last time we checked on July 9.
Ethier is still anticipating a return to the club when rosters expand in early September.
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