Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
In his first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery, Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson experienced fairly decent success with the exception of a few notable bumps in the road.
Before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in late September 2020, Ferguson was becoming one of the Dodgers’ more trusted left-handed relief options. A lengthy and positive rehab process got him back on the mound with Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 28.
A few weeks later, Ferguson would get another shot at the Major League level when the Dodgers activated him from the injured list and optioned Michael Grove. Ferguson tossed a scoreless inning in relief on May 16, explaining he was battling his emotions during the outing.
“Couldn’t really feel the ball in my hand. It almost felt like I was making my debut again,” he said following the game. “But really happy to be back. A lot of hard work that went into it. Just got to keep chipping away and keep getting better.”
Although the Dodgers used a bit of roster manipulation to get their pitching staff to within roster restrictions, Ferguson expressed his displeasure with how the team communicated their plan and were overly cautious with what he called some general soreness.
Ferguson didn’t make his next appearance with the Dodgers until July 8, but he went on to spend the rest of the regular season with the team, posting a 1.82 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, while allowing a .187 batting average to opposing hitters across 33.2 innings pitched.
However, the surface numbers tell a different story of Ferguson’s season, mainly because the young lefty posted the second-highest walk-rate among Dodgers relievers with at least 30 innings. Manager Dave Roberts also opted to avoid Ferguson in multi-inning appearances, and in most cases, on back-to-back days.
Ferguson wrapped up the season on a bittersweet note. His first season back from a major injury was a success, but the Dodgers chose to keep him off of their postseason roster for the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres.
Caleb Ferguson 2022 highlight
On September 3 against the Padres, the Dodgers used Ferguson as the opener in a regular season matchup against their NL West rivals following the trade that brought Juan Soto to the Padres gave them one of the most feared 1-2 punches in all of baseball with him and Manny Machado.
Ferguson faced Ha-seong Kim, Soto and Machado, and retired the side in order on three strikeouts, all looking.
A huge hurdle is behind him after a solid 2022 campaign, and Ferguson should be in line for a step forward in his development as a hard-throwing lefty. His fastball logged a -6 run value according to Baseball Savant, the second-highest mark of his career.
With the Dodgers having him under team control for two more seasons, expect the team to push Ferguson to become a valuable piece to the bullpen as a multi-inning arm with a power fastball and a solid curveball.
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