Much of the talk before the Dodgers’ weekend series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park revolved around pitchers who are at least a few weeks away from potentially helping the team.
Clayton Kershaw is out with inflammation in his right SI joint, a pelvic joint in his lower back. A bullpen session earlier this week was scrapped after he felt pain while playing catch.
In an interview on MLB Network Radio earlier Friday, manager Dave Roberts told Dani Wexelman that Kershaw was “a couple weeks away” from throwing a bullpen session.
Before Friday’s game in Philadelphia, Roberts told reporters in Philadelphia that Kershaw is home and will join the Dodgers next weekend when the team plays in Arizona, as shown on SportsNet LA.
Dave Roberts provides an update on Tommy Kahnle and Andrew Heaney ahead of today's opener. #AlwaysLA pic.twitter.com/Ob2qoUzzov— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 20, 2022
As far as a potential timetable for Kershaw, the usual rubric is a bullpen session as the next step once he’s pain free, followed by facing hitters and then comes a minor league rehab assignment. In other words, that’s mid-June or so before he’s back in the rotation.
Further along that recovery path is Andrew Heaney, who has been sidelined over a month with shoulder discomfort. He threw another bullpen session on Friday in Philadelphia. Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register has more:
#Dodgers Andrew Heaney threw another bullpen session this afternoon (indoors because it was raining at the time). Up to 30 pitches. Could throw to hitters after another bullpen session— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 20, 2022
Also noted by Roberts was that relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle, who was placed on the injured list Tuesday with right forearm inflammation, got MRI results back that show the right-hander will be out for a while.
“He’s in Arizona, resting. It’s going to be a while, weeks before he picks up a baseball again,” Roberts said of Kahnle, as shown on SportsNet LA.
The injury for Kahnle is a bone bruise, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
The team has clarified Kahnle's injury: It's a bone bruise in his elbow, not a strain. Believed to be a residual effect of his recovery from TJ surgery the last couple years— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) May 20, 2022
He's going to be shut down for a week or two. Timeline to return remains TBD https://t.co/JltGh8DpCp
The timetable is even less clear for an old friend, who could be a new friend soon. Pedro Báez signed a minor league contract and was assigned to the Dodgers’ Arizona Complex League, though with no games until next month that just means he’s working things out at the team facilities at Camelback Ranch for now.
Báez was released from the final year of his two-year, $12.5 million contract with the Astros on April 27. A shoulder injury limited Báez to just four games for Houston last season, and this year allowed six runs in just 2⅓ innings in his three appearances.
Báez in that very limited duty with the Astros averaged just 90.4 mph on his four-seam fastball last season and 89.7 mph this year. To put that in perspective, Báez with the Dodgers consistently averaged 96-97 mph on his fastball from 2014-19, so much so that his reduction to 94.4 mph in 2020 was cause for concern.
Now 34, Báez in his seven years with the Dodgers had a 3.03 ERA and 3.61 FIP in 355 games, all in relief, with 369 strikeouts and 120 walks in 356 innings.