The Dodgers signing reliever Tommy Kahnle to a 2-year deal was hard for fans to get excited about. After all, Kahnle is coming off of Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and was not expected to pitch until 2022.
But the latest update from Kahnle suggests that he might be shooting for much earlier than that. The newest Dodgers reliever spoke about the possibility of playing in 2021 recently, and it sounds like he’s going to do everything he can to make an impact this year.
I’m definitely trying to, hopefully, pitch [in 2021]. But I mean, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But I would like to. It’s just the mentality. You don’t want to miss out on a year. Especially because you know they’re going to be in contention. You know there’s a good chance we’re going back to the World Series. So, I want to be playing a part of it instead of sitting there and watching it happen.
Pitchers who undergo Tommy John generally need about 12 to 18 months before they can return to game action. Since Kahnle had surgery in August, that would make the window for him to pitch in 2021 VERY slim. He has started to throw a weighted ball though and is about a week away from being able to throw a baseball.
The Dodgers picked up Kahnle on a 2-year deal that will pay him $5.25 million that includes a signing bonus. He last pitched for the Yankees, making just one appearance in 2020 before tearing his UCL. But Kahnle was one of the best relievers in baseball between 2017 and 2018. In that time frame, he put up a 2.60 ERA in 90 innings and struck out close to 30% of batters.
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