Monday, March 21, 2016

Dodgers Dropping Like Flies

If you're a Dodger fan and you're squeamish, you might want to avert your eyes. As Opening Day approaches, the injuries are coming in at a freakish clip, which is not something a club wants to see this close to breaking camp. All the depth the front office has been stockpiling might very well get tested earlier than expected.

Candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation are on a downward spiral. 
Ryu & the Dodgers aren't laughing now.
Training camp barely began when the Dodger pitching staff started taking a hit. First to go down was Brett Anderson with back surgery. So Alex Wood moved up to occupy Anderson's fourth slot, and then promptly felt tightness in his left forearm. He missed one start and then returned, but it's hard to tell if he's really healthy since he revealed he was secretly playing with a sore ankle pretty much from the day he arrived last season in the trade with the Braves. Fishy. Then the Hyun-Jin Ryu setbacks started up, and it's deja vu, you know, that feeling when the team keeps on pushing back his return timetable until it finally announces he needs surgery...again. Let's hope not. The team says it will be at least June before Ryu sees a major league mound, so the fifth slot, just like last season, is a black hole. 

Can Beachy come back from Tommy
John and snag the #5?
In the early-going, it was fun watching guys compete for the #5, now it's just scary. 
Lee may finally have his opening.
Top prospects Julio Urius and Jose De Leon proved they are not-yet-ready for primetime, pretty much getting lit up in their spring innings. Same for Jharel Cotton. Not sure why Ross Stripling fell out of the running, as he looked pretty good. Nevertheless, these guys were all sent to the minor leagues last week in the first round of cuts, leaving Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy, and Zach Lee to fight it out. Opponents were only hitting .232 against Lee, but the Dodgers eventually sent him to the minors as well (might have been his 4.50 ERA), making it a two-man game. And then the injury bug bit the pitching staff yet again. Beachy threw a rotten game last Friday night (extremely high pitch count, four walks, couldn't get out of the third inning, etc.), and the next day the team revealed he has tendonitis in his pitching arm. The prescription is rest, but we know how that usually turns out. As if that wasn't bad enough, Bolsinger was scratched from his next start because of an oblique strain. Apparently, he felt "a lot better" the next day, but since oblique strains can be super serious (Carl Crawford missed 75 games last season with one of these boys) the team is playing it slow and safe. So...about that 5th slot...Now what? Manager Dave Roberts and the brass are considering canceling Lee's option and bringing him back up or possibly giving Carlos Frias another shot like last year before he hurt his lower back. Frias did okay in the slot, nothing too special, but not horrible either. Either way, the #5 slot is panning out just like last season, which is not a good thing. Some think the Dodgers should throw Urius or De Leon out there; this won't happen, though, as neither of them have big-league arm strength yet, and to bring one of them up now would smack of desperation.

Ethier is feeling the pain.
It would be nice if the injury parade stopped there. It gets worse.
Ethier's pain could be Thompson's gain.
Just when it seemed that Andre Ethier finally had job security, he fouled a ball off of his shin. Ironically, he wears a pad on his knee and one on his shin, but there is one tiny bare area. Yep, the ball found that the spot because that is what happens when you are a Dodger, so look out. X-rays were negative--yay!--however, it is so sore that the medical staff ordered a bone scan tomorrow. Not good, especially when one backup, Scott Van Slyke, now has a sore hip flexor, and the other is Carl Crawford. Even if Crawford manages to leave camp healthy (and we all know that is a BIG if with his history), he is currently sporting a pathetic .120 batting average. If Ethier's injury spells D.L., the team could turn to slick prospect, Trayce Thompson, who has 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, and is considered to be one of best outfielders in the organization. Unless he is the next one to drop. Oh, and, this just in...catcher Yasmani Grandal left the game today in the second inning with forearm soreness, which has been bothering him for several days. Seriously?

Yep, I am resorting to this.
Dave Roberts might be, too.
Of course, injuries are part of professional sports and every team has to deal with them. Things could get even worse for the Dodgers, so I feel the need to...

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