LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers bullpen held another deal with the players on Monday. The last visit was not the most obvious.
Caleb Ferguson was activated from a 10-day injured list before the Dodgers ’game against Arizona Diamondbacks. Appearing on Monday would mark the end of a 608-day break since his last Premier League game.
On September 15, 2020, Ferguson tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, underwent Tommy John surgery and has since participated in only a few Triple-A rehabilitation games. Few of them went well.
Ferguson allowed opponents to beat .417 and .667. He allowed three runs on four hits, including a home run, and on May 8 in Oklahoma City finished just two bouncers. Of his six rehab games, none had a clean serve.
After his last appearance on Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the next step in Ferguson’s rehabilitation process was to “fall well”.
On Monday, Ferguson returned to the Premier League bullpen for the first time in almost two years.
“We recalled it as needed,” Roberts said. “Let’s see where that takes us.”
Right-hander Michael Grove, who made his Premier League debut on Sunday against Philadelphia Phyllis, was selected to take the appropriate step at Oklahoma City’s Triple-A.
Ferguson is 10-5 with a 3.93 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 96 games (six starts) over three seasons with the Dodgers. He is now the fifth pitcher to join the bullpen of minors in the last five days. One, Gareth Clevinger, had already come and gone.
The outflow of transactions will continue on Tuesday. Veteran David Price was at the clubhouse and said he was ready to return three weeks and two days after he was added to the COVID-19 victim list. Price played four times before the IL, allowing one run in 4⅔ innings.
The Dodgers held a double header against Arizona on Tuesday. Teams are allowed to make changes to the list between the first and second games. Both Price and Ryan Pepiot, who is expected to start the game early, need to be activated.
Andrew Heaney will hold his first session of the bullpen on Tuesday after being placed in Illinois on April 20 with a left shoulder injury.
The left-hander “fully connected” to the Dodgers rehab program and accelerated to 86-87 miles per hour while playing fishing, Roberts said. Heaney did not allow a run in two starts before the injury.
Clayton Kershaw was playing fishing for the second day in a row when the left-hander is recovering from inflammation of the right SI joint.
Last season, the Dodgers adopted an “opening” strategy, regularly deploying a relief pitcher in the first inning instead of the traditional starter, who instead broke the relief.
Roberts has so far shied away from the 2022 strategy, and he expects it to continue. This suggests that Ryan Pepiot will get a traditional start if, as expected, he plays in Tuesday’s first game against the Diamondbacks.
“Now, this year, teams aren’t likely to have one set,” Roberts said. “It kind of takes away the opening effect.”
Arizona (Meryl Kelly, 3-1, 1.71 and TBD) to the Dodgers (TBD and Tyler Anderson, 3-0, 4.40 ERA), Tuesday, 12:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (Games 1 and 2) and MLB Network (Game 2), 570 am