After Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as president of baseball operations and general manager, respectively, they quickly targeted the team’s biggest weakness at the time, the bullpen.
In order to improve, the Dodgers front office traded for two relief pitchers Adam Liberatore and Joel Peralt from the Tampa Bay Rays, in a reunion with Friedman. Peralta made the Opening Day roster, and though Liberatore didn’t, he’s since made significant contributions.
As for Peralta, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 26 with back pain, which further depleted the Dodgers’ depth of right-handed relievers as Brandon League was also sidelined and Kenley Jansen was still out at the time. Peralta’s recovery has been a slow one and apparently surgery was suggested as a solution, via ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
According to Peralta, back specialist Robert Watkins recommended at one point that he undergo surgery to remove a disk in his back that was impinging on a nerve and causing discomfort to radiate down through his triceps. Instead, Peralta and the Dodgers elected to go the conservative route and rest his arm and it appears he might be able to avoid surgery, which would have ended his season and, possibly, his career.
At the age of 39, Peralta’s career is winding down, so surgery may have led to retirement. With the 2015 season starting on such a positive note for him, the right-hander was relieved to learn surgery could be avoided, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group:
The doc at one point was talking surgery,” Peralta said, involving a compressed nerve in his spine. “That was a big relief for me.”
Although the team decided against surgery, manager Don Mattingly admitted to being concerned by Peralta’s status and the prospect of losing him for the season:
He wasn’t looking very good there for a little bit,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Peralta threw from flat ground Tuesday between the split doubleheader, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register; it came one day after he threw off a mound. Peralta last pitched April 23 and hasn’t allowed a run over 5.2 innings (seven appearances).