Over the last few seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers have prided themselves as a team built on pitching, with an emphasis on the starting rotation. That came as little surprise with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, both aces in their own right, forming a potent 1-2 combo.
The Dodgers figured to again rely on their starting pitching this season with a rotation and bullpen that features plenty of new faces. However, injuries to Kenley Jansen, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and others, have made that proposition all the more difficult.
While the injuries have forced the Dodgers to reshuffle their deck, they’ve managed a 24-13 record heading into play Tuesday, good for first place in the National League West. Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias have provided stability to a rotation that once was literally a rotation when it came time for a fifth starter.
Multiple pitchers were called out of Triple-A Oklahoma City for spot starts and although there’s now consistency, a fresh face is making progress who potentially could provide additional reinforcement for the pitching staff.
Recovering from a second Tommy John surgery and said to be taking a more proactive approach in his recovery, Brandon Beachy threw live batting practice at Dodger Stadium over the weekend. He faced Joc Pederson and threw 30 pitches over two trips to the mound.
Beachy didn’t report any setbacks after his first time throwing BP since the March 2014 operation. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly also had a positive review, while adding the club will stay the course with a steady recovery plan for the right-hander. “I know he felt good when he threw it,” Mattingly said Sunday. “And they were happy with all the data that came off the Trackman.”
The Trackman technology Mattingly referenced is installed at Dodger Stadium, and can track the location and velocity of pitches. “It’s up to medical really,” Mattingly answered when asked what’s next for Beachy. “We’re not putting a timetable on Brandon. We’re just letting his elbow tell us when he’s ready [to advance with his recovery].”
Mattingly indicated Beachy would again throw live BP before progressing to rehab assignments. The Dodgers signed the 28 year old in February to a one-year contract with a club option for 2016. After the signing, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi said Beachy was a target of the club’s and he believed the right-hander would return near the All-Star break.
While Beachy initially may have been viewed as an emergency starter, the Dodgers have slowly closed in to that point with McCarthy undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery and Ryu’s bum shoulder causing more headache and concern than expected.
Having just made five starts with the Atlanta Braves in 2013, Beachy underwent the first Tommy John surgery of his career in June of 2012. He previously spent the entirety of his four-year career with the Braves and made a career-high 25 starts in 2011.
That season Beachy finished 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA and had 169 strikeouts in 141.2 innings. His 169 strikeouts was most among all Braves pitchers and ranked second in the Majors. Beachy is a career 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 starts.