Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract, he was still in the early stages of recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely wouldn’t pitch for the team until 2022.
Kahnle held hope of getting back onto the mound during the 2021 season, though that unsurprisingly didn’t come to be. The right-hander was also slow to build up this year and didn’t get activated off the 10-day injured list until May.
Kahnle completed a rehab assignment with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing just two runs and collecting seven strikeouts against one walk in 6.1 innings over eight games (three starts).
His Dodgers debut was a success, as the 32-year-old struck out a pair and retired all three batters faced against the Detroit Tigers. Kahnle pitched in four games during May, with three of those being scoreless efforts.
However, he suffered a bone bruise in his surgically repaired elbow and wound up missing four months. Upon coming off the IL in September, Kahnle quickly emerged as a viable late-inning option.
He allowed one earned run and collected one save in nine appearances to finish out the 2022 regular season. That was all the more imperative as the Dodgers dealt with change at the back of their bullpen when Craig Kimbrel was removed from the closer role.
Although the Dodgers did not name a designated closer to succeed Kimbrel, Kahnle was among the candidates under consideration for the group approach.
Kahnle finished the 2022 season with a 2.84 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 9.95 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.13 walks per nine.
His last full season was with the New York Yankees in 2019, when he yielded a 3.67 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 88 strikeouts and 20 walks over 61.1 innings. Kahnle’s best season was in 2017, which saw him post a 2.59 ERA, 1.83 FIP and 1.12 WHIP with 96 strikeouts to 17 walks in 62.2 innings.
Tommy Kahnle 2022 highlight
While Kahnle impressed during multiple appearances this past season, his Dodgers debut stands out as the most memorable. The appearance was Kahnle’s first in a Major League game in more than two years, and it came without any signs of rust as his vaunted changeup had its patented movement.
Kahnle was among the group of Dodgers free agents this offseason and after drawing interest in a robust market, elected to return to the Yankees by signing a two-year, $11.5 million contract.
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