Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Stephen Fife is healthy as spring training is one weekend in and the right-hander is taking precautionary measures to remain injury-free. Fife started 10 games last season, going 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA as he stepped in on multiple occasions for Dodger pitchers who went down to injury throughout the season.
As he struggled to a .500 record, Fife dealt with bouts of shoulder issues, which he was never able to recover from and resulted in two stints on the disabled list. Looking to avoid a repeat of last season, Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com reports Fife is on a scaled back pitching regimen:
So as a precautionary measure, Fife is on a slower Spring Training throwing regimen than most of the pitchers. It’s a measure to avoid the struggles of last year, when Fife developed right shoulder bursitis that put him on the disabled list twice
The cautious approach to preparing for the 2014 season has been a frustrating process for Fife:
I was discouraged over the winter, because even in December, I didn’t feel like I was getting any better, said Fife. I still couldn’t stretch my arm on a training table. But around Jan. 10, it really started to improve and it feels good now when I throw.
Despite improvement in his shoulder, Fife figures to be a long-shot in making his way back into the starting rotation. Dan Haren likely has a spot solidified and Josh Beckett, who appears to be recovered from offseason TOS (Thoracic Outlet Surgery) along with newly-acquired Paul Maholm are believed to be the frontrunners for the final spot in the rotation.
As the Dodgers experienced last season with not only their pitchers, but position players as well, injuries can quickly pile up and if healthy, Fife could easily find himself back in the rotation.
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