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Dodgers: The Often Painful Path Back to LA for Brandon Morrow



For some, right-hander Brandon Morrow is looked at as a pinnacle of relief dominance for the Dodgers in recent years. And as one of the best success stories in the Andrew Friedman era. Morrow inked a minor league deal with LA heading in to the 2017 season, going from non-roster invitee to pitching in the biggest moments of the club’s first World Series appearance in 29 years.

Now after a few years away, the two sides are trying to catch lightning in a bottle once again.

The Dodgers brought the reliever back on a minor league deal this offseason, three years after he left LA to become the closer for the Chicago Cubs. However, his journey since that 2017-2018 offseason has been anything but ideal.

Sure, Brandon Morrow was the same dominant guy he was for the Dodgers in his first 35 games with the Cubs. He recorded 22 saves with a sparkling 1.47 ERA over the first 30-some-odd innings of his Chicago career…

And that was all she wrote. 

A back issue sidelined him around the 2018 All-Star game. Then arm issues, surgeries, and subsequent rehab ultimately kept him out of baseball for the rest of the 2018 season, and all of 2019 and 2020. But Andrew Friedman kept an eye on the former fan favorite.

“I had an offer very, very early to come back,” Morrow said. “So I put my eye on it and started working out about October 1, really getting after it. I hope it pays off.”

Related: Brandon Morrow Open to any Bullpen Role, Even Closing Games if Needed

The reliever hasn’t appeared in a major league game since July 15, 2018. Aside from facing hitters in live batting practice — which, Morrow says, always resulted in “shutdown pain” the day after — he’s remained more or less idle. But his run of dominance always made him an intriguing piece to re-explore for LA. As long as he was healthy.

“To my eyes, to my feel, everything is on track,” Morrow said on Saturday. “Whether I get back to throwing 100 miles an hour, I don’t know. I’m four years older than I was at that time. We’ll see. So far I feel good.”

The 36-year-old threw his first bullpen session back with the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on Friday. Manager Dave Roberts called it a “great first day” for the reliever in terms of health and stuff off the mound.

The roster is jam-packed and the window to a bullpen spot is narrow for Morrow. But, if he’s right, he could be another success story from a long line of Andrew Friedman scrapheap finds. Finds that once found Brandon Morrow.

Brandon Morrow Talks Return to Dodgers, Health, Bullpen Roles, & More

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Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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