Blake Treinen was activated off the 60-day injured list by the Dodgers before Friday’s series opener against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, after the right-hander missed 4½ months with shoulder inflammation. He adds another high-leverage arm to a bullpen that’s been without him since April.
The final five weeks of the season will determine exactly what the Dodgers are getting back, but in 2020-21 Treinen was the anchor of the bullpen, with a 2.48 ERA and 2.95 FIP with 107 strikeouts in 98 innings. Pitching nearly 80 percent of his innings in the seventh and eighth gave Treinen the second-highest average leverage in each of the last two seasons, behind only closer Kenley Jansen.
Treinen led the Dodgers in 2020 and 2021 in both games on zero days rest and multi-inning appearances. This year, which included four months without pitching, he’s pitched on back-to-back days twice — once in April while active, and again this last week while with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The entire point of minor league rehab assignment is to get ready for the majors, but if you’re into results, Treinen struck out nine with no intentional walks in six innings in his seven games with Oklahoma City, allowing five runs (three earned).
While on rehab, Treinen threw his sinker 39 times, per Statcast, averaging 95.5 mph, maxing out in the 97s in three of his seven starts. For comparison, he averaged 97.4 mph on the pitch in 2021.
Treinen returns to a bullpen that has done quite well in his absence, ranking third in the majors in ERA (3.10), second in FIP (3.29), and topping MLB in strikeout-minus-walk ratio (18.7 percent). But it also comes on the day Brusdar Graterol got an MRI exam on his right elbow, with his availability for this season very much in doubt.
The last month of the season will be about getting ready for October, which for the Dodgers means figuring out which of the injured relievers are healthy and effective enough to pitch in October. The injured list currently includes Yency Almonte, Victor González, Tommy Kahnle, and Danny Duffy, the last three currently on rehab in Triple-A.
There’s room to add them in a bullpen that currently includes Heath Hembree and Phil Bickford. Jake Reed was the roster casualty to make room for Treinen, getting designated for assignment which cleared space on both the active and 40-man rosters, the latter required since Treinen was on the 60-day injured list.
Reed was called up Tuesday and pitched in first of three games in New York, earning his first career save with a scoreless inning.