LOS ANGELES — J.P. Feyereisen did not pitch for the Dodgers in 2023, as he recovered from shoulder surgery. The team’s trade for him last December was more of a potential long-term play.
The Dodgers sent minor league pitcher Jeff Belge to the Rays for Feyereisen on December 14, shortly after Feyereisen’s surgery on the rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder.
Though there was at least a possibility of Feyereisen pitching for the Dodgers at some point this season, Feyereisen — much like Walker Buehler who was undergoing his own long-term rehab after surgery — slowed things down in August, with a focus on being fully healthy and ready to start 2024.
“The rehab was supposed to be a 12-month process for my shoulder anyway, so when I had it in December it was iffy that I was even going to pitch this year,” Feyereisen explained in a phone interview with True Blue LA last week. “We were not going to rush through it just to get me back for a just in case. Me coming back at 80 percent wouldn’t have been better than the guys we had at 100 percent.”
Feyereisen said he was on the same trajectory as Buehler and Blake Treinen, who also did not pitch in the majors in 2023 after shoulder surgery last November. The Dodgers exercised Treinen’s 2024 option for $1 million on November 5.
“If we were doing great and everything was going 100 percent, and there were no setbacks — everything would have had to have gone perfect for anyone of us to get back [to the majors] and be effective and help the team,” Feyereisen said. “That’s what the goal was, just make sure we were all healthy ending the year, rather than have a setback. They’d rather have us healthy for the offseason and be ready for next year.”
If and when Feyereisen takes the mound in 2024, it will be at least two and a half years since he allowed his last earned run. The right-hander with the Rays in 2022 had a 0.00 ERA in 22 games and 24⅓ innings, allowing just a single unearned run. His peripheral numbers were good too, with 25 strikeouts against only five walks, with no extra-base hits allowed and a 2.43 xERA.
He credited Tampa Bay’s catchers for helping him trust his repertoire, which includes a four-seam fastball, slider, and changeup.
“Just knowing to use my stuff to the best of my ability and not really waiver compared to who was up at-bat. What helped me was attacking every hitter like they were the same person,” he explained. “It’s throwing what was my best pitch at that point in time.”
Though he didn’t pitch in a game for the Dodgers in the majors or minors this season, he did wear a Dodgers uniform, number 45 if you’re keeping track.
He donned a Dodgers jersey during FanFest at Dodger Stadium on February 4, only the back of his jersey had his full name, “J.P. Feyereisen,” which was a departure from wearing just “Feyereisen” on his jerseys with the Brewers and Rays.
It was just a mix up as the Dodgers staff were putting together uniforms for the newcomers to the team. Feyereisen said he thought it might have been because another of the new acquisitions, J.D. Martinez, did use his full name on the back of his jersey.
Either way, Feyereisen got a good laugh out of it, even if at first he thought his new teammates were pranking him.
“When I got the jersey, [Pepiot] was like, ‘You know J.P. is on the back of your jersey,’ and I said, ‘You’re kidding,’” Feyereisen recalled. “I thought they were just messing with me, I’m the new guy on the team and just got traded, and they were trying to pull one over.”
Stats: did not pitch
Along with his sister Tessa and her wife Becca, Feyereisen this year also started The Feyereisen Foundation, a charitable organization with “a mission to empower individuals with disabilities, promote their rights, and enhance their quality of life.”
With three years, 108 days of major league service time, Feyereisen is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. The folks at MLB Trade Rumors project the right-hander to make $1 million in 2024.
The Dodgers do have roster flexibility in Feyereisen, who turns 31 in February. He not only has at least three years before free agency, but also has two option years remaining, having used only one option year, in 2020.
“I don’t really have a year [of stats] before the arbitration to show what I can do, but I think that’s why the Dodgers traded for me when I was hurt. They know that when I’m healthy I can be an effective person for them to use in the future,” Feyereisen said. “I’m not really worried about the the money side of things. I’ll let my agent take care of that.”