GLENDALE, Ariz. -- One of the most unique players in Dodgers camp might not be game-ready until somewhere near the end of spring training. Ben Rowen is recovering from offseason surgery to relieve nerve pressure caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Rowen, 26, had the procedure in November after feeling discomfort in his upper arm and right bicep area.
"I was feeling some pain when I was throwing, every time I threw a baseball," Rowen said. "I was able to manage it."
The surgery was the same procedure Josh Beckett had in July 2013. Doctors remove the first rib to relieve the pressure in the nerves. The submariner Rowen signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January, with an invitation to big league camp.
Rowen is only playing catch now, though he hopes to throw off a mound at some point this week. Manager Don Mattingly said Rowen might be ready by the end of March, a timeline the team knew of when Rowen was signed.
"It sounds like we may see him in a game by the end of camp," Mattingly said. "This is not surprising anybody either."
"That's the goal. Hopefully it happens," Rowen said. "I'm not going to rush it if it doesn't feel good, but that's the mindset."
Rowen started throwing sidearm at age 14, then after high school switched from sidearm to full submarine style. He said he watched Dan Quisenberry, Kent Tekulve and Chad Bradford, eventually calling Bradford last year for some pointers. Rowen, like Bradford, has occasionally gotten so low in his delivery that he has scraped a knuckle or two on the mound, though it has been a while since he last did that.
Rowen also tops out in the low 80s, which doesn't excite some.
"Coaches have different perspectives of what they want with their bullpen. I've had a history since high school and college trying to find the right coach who really loves what I do," Rowen said. "I'm kind of unique in my way of going about pitching, but I love what I do."
After a 1.79 ERA in five minor league seasons, with 231 strikeouts and 68 walks in 281 innings, Rowen made his major league debut in 2014 with the Rangers, pitching in eight games in relief.
As a free agent, he picked the Dodgers because he liked what he saw from the front office.
"I think the new mentality here, the front office with Andrew and Farhan, Gabe Kapler and those guys, I think the new mindset here is something I can flourish in here," Rowen said. "I want to help those guys win."