Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract in December 2020, it was with an eye on the future as he underwent Tommy John surgery four months prior and faced a long recovery.
After missing the entire 2021 season, Kahnle is finally inching closer to returning to the mound. He threw his second live batting practice session of Spring Training on Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch against the San Francisco Giants this weekend.
It will mark Kahnle’s first time pitching in a game since July 26, 2020, which wound up being his only appearance for the New York Yankees that season.
While that’s a step in the right direction, Kahnle won’t be included on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. He instead will spend the month of April in the Minors and continue building up to a full workload, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Kahnle acknowledged that he won’t be ready to open the season in the Dodgers’ bullpen and instead will spend April going through the equivalent of “a full spring training,” most likely pitching for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Prior to his injury-shortened 2020 season, Kahnle had established himself as a key member of the 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).
While there’s no guarantee Kahnle will return to that level, he at the very least gives the Dodgers another potential late-inning option. That’s especially important after Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel departed in free agency.
Bickford, Ferguson won’t be included on Dodgers’ Opening Day roster
In addition to Kahnle being unavailable for Opening Day, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said Caleb Ferguson is unlikely to be included on the club’s initial roster as well. The left-hander also missed the entire 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Phil Bickford additionally won’t be among the relief pitchers Roberts can call on during the early stages as he deal with arm soreness and fell behind in camp.
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