Dodgers Injury Notes: Utley, Hill, Kershaw, Ryu & More

You wouldn’t know it by the way the team is playing, but with 11 players listed on the disabled list, the Dodgers now have more injured players than they’ve had all year. And with nine members currently on the shelf, the pitching staff is far and away the most victimized part of the roster.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported yesterday that of the nine injured pitchers, seven are suffering ailments related to the shoulder or the biceps. Righty reliever Pedro Baez was the latest to fall victim to such an epidemic as he was placed on the 10-day disabled list before Friday’s opener against the Giants with a bout of biceps tendinitis.

Nevertheless, better health appears to be on the horizon. But whether or not the team can maintain a high level of wellness—and win games while doing it—remains to be seen. Starting on Monday against the Cubs, a surplus of players may start being reinstated from the disabled list.

Second baseman Chase Utley will likely be the first of those players. The veteran has been on the DL since May 30 with a left thumb sprain, but he appeared to be near 100% while taking batting practice on Wednesday before a contest against the Rangers. There’s no reason not to believe he’ll be activated before the opener in Chicago.

Southpaw starter Rich Hill, who is coming off an impressive rehab start with Rancho on Thursday, is set to return to the mound on Tuesday. He’s recovering from a blister that has sidelined him since May 20. In the outing against Lake Elsinore, he gave up two runs—both unearned—and four hits, striking out 10 and walking none in 4 2/3 innings.

“It felt great. It felt normal,” Hill told reporters. “I would say my curve ball was probably the best it’s been in three years. My fastball is as good as it was in ’16 and last year. We made a few mechanical, small changes that made huge differences with the ball coming out of my hand the way that I want it to.”

With Hill, Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood seemingly in good health, the starting rotation of the Dodgers is starting to show a small semblance of the unit that began the season.

Furthermore, with both skipper Dave Roberts and boss Andrew Friedman in attendance, staff ace Clayton Kershaw completed a 55-pitch session on Friday that also included a simulated inning where he sat for a short period of time before he resumed throwing. One of the biggest concerns with Kersh’s back injury was his endurance across not just a high pitch count, but rather with the up-and-down nature of pitching multiple innings. The team seemed happy with his performance after his latest endeavor, and thinking conservatively, it’s not out of the question for fans to expect a return sometime in early July.

“A major league start is not the next step,” Roberts explained about Kershaw’s progress. “Making sure Kershaw is okay with next step being either a sim game or a rehab assignment.”

It’s still foggy as to when when rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who was placed on the 10-day DL with a rib injury on June 9, will return to the big league rotation.

“Walker is feeling better with time,” Roberts added. “He’s playing catch. But as far as a timetable, when he’ll make a start again for us, I’m not certain.”

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw off a bullpen mound again on Tuesday and appears to be progressing nicely. This is an encouraging step for the lefty, who has been on the shelf since May 3 with a severe left groin injury. While he’s eligible to come off the 60-day DL on July 2, it’s certainly not an accurate timetable, as the club will undoubtedly proceed very slowly with the final stages of his recovery process.

While there have been some reports that lefty Julio Urias could conceivably return sometime after the All-Star break, there’s still a long way to go in his recovery. Even though he began throwing off a mound in late May, Urias will likely require a long rehab stint in the upper levels of the minors and will likely be optioned to Triple-A initially when he is activated from the 60-day disabled list. If there’s a need in the rotation, realistically, the lefty could be starting games in late August, if all parts of his recovery plan go perfectly.

Lefty reliever Tony Cingrani, who has been inactive since June 7 with a rotator cuff strain, may also be available for the beginning of next week’s road trip.

 

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Dodgers 25-Man Roster: The Time Could Be Now for Joe Broussard

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(Mandatory Credit: Jerry Espinoza)

Tossing around a few ideas for Sunday’s column, my initial plan was to take a crack at optimizing the Dodgers‘ current bullpen crew, at least from a standpoint of which pitchers are the most capable. However, the way the club’s 25-man roster personnel is being handled these days, it sometimes boils down to whomever has the freshest of arms, especially with regard to who’s on the current 40-man roster.

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Dodgers Recall Pedro Baez & Edward Paredes

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

Ahead of the series finale in Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday morning recalled right-handed pitcher Pedro Baez and left-handed pitcher Edward Paredes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. To create room on the active roster, the Dodgers placed left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain and optioned left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson back to OKC.

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Dodgers Promote Caleb Ferguson to Majors, Option Pedro Baez to OKC

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The Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City, with the youngster slated to make his big league debut with a start against the Pirates.

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Dodgers Officially Recall Dennis Santana

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

While many fans apparently had a hint that the move was coming, the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon officially recalled right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana from Triple-A Oklahoma City after placing Kenta Maeda on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip strain.

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Dodgers Roster: How Would a Completely Healthy Starting Rotation Look?

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(Mandatory Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Considering the way right-handers Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler have thrown in recent outings, the Dodgers could conceivably have a few tough decisions on their hands should they find all of their available starting pitchers healthy at some point down the road.

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Better 25-Man Roster Option: Max Muncy or Alex Verdugo?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

With the Dodgers having won six of their last seven games, there’s really not much for fans to complain about these days, especially since the team is now only 3-1/2 games out of the division lead. However, when considering the overall scope of the 25-man roster, many people familiar with the club are still wondering if the team is indeed using the best available players at the big league level.

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Dodgers Roster: A Few Thoughts on Improving an Inadequate Bullpen

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

A little over a week ago, Andy put together a story surrounding a meaningful comment from Dodgers‘ boss Andrew Friedman which stated something to the effect that the club was struggling to click on more than one vital component of its game on a nightly basis.

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Dodgers 25-Man Roster: Rethinking the Bullpen & Starting Rotation

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(Los Angeles Times photo)

The good news is that the Dodgers have strung together three consecutive wins for the first time in what seems like a very, very long time. The bad news is that the club has suffered yet another injury to an already battered starting rotation.

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Dodgers Activate Justin Turner, Logan Forsythe

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(Getty Images photo)

The Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon reinstated infielders Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe from the 10-day disabled list and optioned infielder/catcher Kyle Farmer and outfielder Tim Locastro back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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