Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers went into the 2022 season with a surplus of options for their bullpen between relief pitchers already on the roster and those working their way back from respective injuries.
Among the candidates on the verge of joining the Dodgers is Tommy Kahnle, who continues to impress during his rehab process.
Kahnle was signed to a two-year contract in late 2020, with the understanding he would miss all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Kahnle, Victor González and Caleb Ferguson were all placed on the 10-day injured list when the Dodgers set their Opening Day roster. However, Kahnle appears to be a step ahead of his fellow relievers.
“Tommy is doing really well. Beginning of May makes sense,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of a target date to be activated.
“I think for Fergie, it’s sort of the second week of May, and Victor is sort of behind him. They’re all doing well. Fergie, I think he’ll throw a simulated game in Rancho a few days from now.”
Kahnle’s most recent action has come with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. So far he has appeared every three games for the Quakes and thrown a combined three scoreless innings, striking out three in that span.
Prior to his injury-shortened 2020 season, Kahnle established himself as a key member of the New York Yankees bullpen. In 2019, he pitched to a 3.67 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 88 strikeouts and 20 walks over 61.1 innings (72 appearances).
Ferguson appeared in Spring Training games and had some relative success, but it was clear he would not begin the season with the Dodgers and would require some more time. This timetable corresponds with the club’s original plan to slow play the young lefty so that his workload later in the season won’t be as limited.
Unfortunately, Ferguson is dealing with some residual issues after his most recent time getting off the mound.
“His last outing, he had some soreness in his arm so appreciating what he’s gone through the last calendar year, just to kind of back him off and make sure he’s OK,” Roberts explained.
Ferguson did progress to facing batters at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
González slow return
After struggling for most of 2021, González reworked his body and shed a ton of weight, and went into camp with a completely new look. That translated into a phenomenal Spring Training that many thought would slot him into the backend of the bullpen as a key piece to the Dodgers staff.
But after pitching well in four Cactus League games, he was placed in the IL with left elbow inflammation and that’s when the Dodgers pulled back and acknowledged the need to slow down his process.
While Kahnle has been throwing in rehab games and Ferguson is working toward a return as well, González is on a slower program and yet to get off a mound.
“He’s just playing catch. I don’t think he’s even been off a mound. Of those three, he’s the furthest behind,” Roberts explained.
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