Back in early March 2014, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling had to undergo Tommy John surgery. It kept him out of action until the middle of June 2015. That long road back will now be something he can look back on as an ordeal that he conquered as he is about to take the mound tonight for his first Major League start.
The 26-year old native of Pennsylvania, a former fifth round pick by the Dodgers in 2012, will be making his first ever start above Double-A, and it’s something he has looked forward to for quite some time. It’s been an interesting journey that Stripling has had, and it’s one that now sees him reaching his dream.
“I’m getting a little anxious to get rolling,” Stripling said when asked if the nerves had started to build. “I pitched in Omaha (in the College World Series for Texas A&M) in front of 40,000 people, so I don’t think that will be too much of a shock. That was pretty special, opening day in San Diego. But as the series went on, it made me see that it’s still baseball, just on a bigger scale.”
Stripling made four appearances during spring training this year, but only one start. In that start, he went five innings while giving up seven hits, three of which were home runs, and five earned runs. He also struck out five batters. The hope is that Stripling can at least give the Dodgers five innings out there tonight.
No matter what the results of Stripling’s first start of the season happen to be, the fact he’s made it this far back in such a short period of time is pretty inspirational. We wish him the best out there against the hated San Francisco Giants. With as far as he has made it already, there’s no telling how much further he could go.