As we near the halfway point of spring training, there are still a few Dodgers that we have yet to see. While Cody Bellinger is slated to make his spring debut on Tuesday, someone who we haven’t had much clarity on is reliever Brusdar Graterol.
In an interview with reporters on Monday, Dave Roberts gave a breakdown of what still needed to happen before we see Brusdar in a game.
He still has to go through some live hitters… He’ll take down some hitters at some point in time, but until we check that box, then we won’t see him in a game.
Graterol’s absence from game action doesn’t just affect his status in camp, however. With opening day just over two weeks away, his status to make the initial major league roster has come into question. Roberts wouldn’t commit to him being ready by April 1st, but he didn’t dismiss the possibility either.
I wouldn’t say the door’s closed. I think for us, the main thing is that there’s a lot of things that took place this winter for Brusdar that didn’t allow for him to prepare like he normally would’ve as far as throwing bullpens to prepare for spring training. So the last thing we want to do is speed him up when he’s not ready… The main thing is that we just want him to be healthy and progress the right way.
One of the events that likely set Brusdar back was his wedding earlier this year. He and his long-time girlfriend finally tied the knot back in January, which is normally the time of year that players begin to ramp up their workouts as they prepare for Spring Training.
Besides the obvious setback, however, Dave mentioned that there were some other reasons behind Graterol’s delay. He wouldn’t get into specifics, but his comments made it sounds as if Graterol was working through some physical issues during the offseason.
There were just some things that I don’t think it’s right for me to speak to it… personal, some physical things. Nothing medical, nothing orthopedically. [But it] just set him back a little bit. He got married and there were just some other things that didn’t allow for him to get his proper build up.
The good news is that the young flamethrower does seem to be progressing in the right direction. Roberts mentioned that he is scheduled to throw some breaking balls off of a mound in the coming days, which is a significant step towards live action.
Thankfully, the Dodgers are absolutely loaded with potential bullpen arms, and any one of them could step in until the Bazooka is ready to return. While the possibility still remains that he could be ready by Opening Day, the Dodgers might be better off letting him progress slowly and giving the roster spot to one of their many standouts this spring. The important thing will be to get a fully healthy Brusdar Graterol in the bullpen at some point this season.