Dodgers Spring Training: Emmet Sheehan Unlikely To Pitch In Cactus League Games

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Emmet Sheehan impressed in an unexpected opportunity with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season but has fallen behind in the competition to fill in for Walker Buehler come Opening Day.

Sheehan was on a normal throwing progression but had his spring interrupted by right shoulder soreness that surfaced after a bullpen session in February. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initially described Sheehan’s ailment as general body soreness and downplayed concern.

Roberts believed that surfaced because Sheehan inadvertently overexerted himself once Shohei Ohtani stepped into the batter’s box to track pitches.

Due to being shut down for a brief stretch, Sheehan’s resumed buildup will not allow him to pitch in a Cactus League game, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

Emmet Sheehan, who went 4-1 with a 4.92 ERA in 13 games as a rookie last season, has been slowed by a sore shoulder and won’t pitch in Cactus League games, opening the door for Gavin Stone or Ryan Yarbrough to win rotation spots. Sheehan, who was shut down for a week, has resumed throwing, but there is no timetable for his return.

Although Sheehan won’t start for the Dodgers this spring, he did recently resume a throwing program.

The right-hander is projected by many to have a significant impact on the Dodgers pitching staff in large part because of his pure stuff. Sheehan’s four-seam fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and has elite characteristics, which generates a solid number of swing and miss.

He went 4-1 with a 4.92 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 1.19 WHIP and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings over 13 games (11 starts) for the Dodgers last season.

It’s not yet clear if Sheehan will pitch in any of the exhibition games in South Korea or Freeway Series prior to the Dodgers’ domestic Opening Day. Thus, his status for their Opening Day roster is still up in the air.

What is Emmet Sheehan’s ceiling with the Dodgers?

Aside from potentially slotting into the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation, Sheehan could also rise into a more prominent role if things click right.

His fastball is good enough where it can carry on its own, but the work done to secondary stuff is where Sheehan made great strides in the latter parts of last season.

The Dodgers having James Paxton, Gavin Stone, Ryan Yarbrough, and with Buehler and Clayton Kershaw also returning and varying parts of the year, provides them with enough insurance where depth isn’t a main issue.

Sheehan has enough time prior to the regular season to find a good place with his health, hopefully avoiding any major injuries that’ll slow his progress.

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