Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson is working his way back after his 2022 season was cut short by an ACL tear in his left knee. The veteran righty had been one of the sport’s most effective bullpen arms to that point, working to a 2.22 ERA with a 30.9% strikeout percentage in 24 1/3 innings. Los Angeles rolled the dice on a return to form last September, signing Hudson to a $6.5MM contract for this year with a matching base salary on a 2024 club option.
That positions Hudson for a potential high-leverage relief role, though he might not ready right out of the gate. Skipper Dave Roberts told reporters this afternoon that Hudson’s availability for Opening Day is in question (relayed by Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times). While he’s seemingly past his ACL rehab, the 13-year veteran was delayed in camp after battling ankle tendinitis over the winter.
It doesn’t seem there’s any cause for serious concern. Roberts indicated that Hudson has progressed to throwing high-intensity bullpen sessions in recent days. The issue may have simply held him up long enough in camp he might not be ready for regular season game action within a month, though there’s no indication he’d face any kind of long-term injured list stint.
A healthy Hudson would be an option for late-inning work as Roberts sorts through his bullpen hierarchy. Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia also seem like locks for high-leverage roles. Players like Shelby Miller, Yency Almonte and Jimmy Nelson could pitch their way into key innings.
Hudson and Nelson each lost much or all of last season recovering from injury. The Dodgers have shown a tolerance for injury risk in taking upside plays in their bullpen. Los Angeles also extended Blake Treinen (a move that looks regrettable in light of a subsequent shoulder surgery that’ll cost him most or all of the upcoming season) and recently took a shot on former Cardinals closer Alex Reyes. The Dodgers guaranteed him $1.1MM on an incentive-laden free agent deal, securing a $3MM club option for 2024 in the process.
Reyes is building back from a shoulder procedure of his own. He went under the knife to fix a labrum tear last May and has never been viewed as an Opening Day option. According to MLB.com, Reyes has been throwing regularly off flat ground but is not expected to get onto a mound until the end of this month at the earliest. Bullpen sessions would be the precursor towards a potential minor league rehab assignment. Reyes will surely need multiple weeks between his first mound work and a potential return as he builds strength after nearly 18 months since his last game action. He’s a hopeful midseason reinforcement.
Sticking with the theme of rehabbing L.A. hurlers, Roberts said All-Star starter Walker Buehler made a few throws from 60 feet yesterday (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register). It’s the first step of a long build in a throwing program for the righty, who underwent the second Tommy John surgery of his career last August. He’s now a little more than six months removed from that procedure and seems on track in his recovery. The Dodgers haven’t closed the door on Buehler potentially returning in a relief capacity at the tail end of the season, though it’s still far too early in the process to tell if that’ll wind up being possible.
Walker Buehler would be a great post-season story and a bad risk rather than having him ready and healthy for Opening Day 2024. Better to pick up an extra arm at the trade deadline.
Buehler is a great pitcher. Not a Dodgers fan but hope he makes it all the way back.
The Dodgers bullpen is very strong. Would only get better if the injured guys can find their way back and Shelby Miller has a revival
The Saber-toothed Superfife
It’s not like the Dodgers are doing it just because they have more money, they have more smarts.
They could fix the “Strawman”. Money can’t buy you love,.but if you know how to use it, a golden retriever is good start!
Go, Alex Reyes!
The list of pitchers they didn’t fix is as long as your arm.
bs,la – AND?
Too cryptic to answer.. But the short answer is look back at the rosters for the last several years for all the nobodies they tried out and how few of them stuck.
Las Vegas Athletic Dancers
Lefty Caleb Ferguson is pretty nasty too. Last year he was coming back from TJS but he still did really well. Most teams would give a guy with his track record and stuff, a chance to start but LA is so loaded they won’t stretch him back out before he hits free agency.
Ferguson isn’t a starter. He didn’t make this article but he will make the bullpen.
Las Vegas Athletic Dancers
I didn’t say Ferg was a starter but thanks for responding blueskies, it wouldn’t be a dodgers post without you being disagreeable in the comments.
LV, you did imply Ferguson could be a starter.
You said he’d get “a chance to start” and referred to him being “stretched out,” which also implies he’d take on a role he’s never had in the majors. I’m sorry you are so offended by my pointing out this error.
And, FWIW, the Dodgers control him through at least 2024.
Oh Las Vegas you did say a chance to start “ Last year he was coming back from TJS but he still did really well. Most teams would give a guy with his track record and stuff, a chance to *start* but LA is so loaded”
Don’t be bitter BlueSkies was just clarifying for you.
Thank you. People seem to jump right out their socks over nothing these days.
Las Vegas Athletic Dancers
I said most teams would give a guy with his stuff and results a chance to start. Which is true. The guy is nasty with ace like results, his main issue is injury and the dodgers depth. This shouldn’t be an argument. Don’t you guys have lives? Blue skies your constant fighting in these comments really turns me off on commenting here. You’ve been trolling here for years. Get a life bro
Las Vegas Athletic Dancers
Streaking. What i said is true. I didn’t say he’d start with the dodgers. If Seth Lugo can get MLB starts, then Ferguson is capable of being an MLB starter. He has a career minor league ERA under 3.00, a career MLB ERA under 4.00, and last year had an ERA under 2.00. He’s a big lefty too and the only reason he was moved to the pen is because the Dodgers are stacked. On MOST other teams he would be starting this year.
Can’t forget about Victor Gonzalez when he’s healthy he’s another that can put them down. Hoping to see him at some point this year too.
Not really. We call him “a flash in the pan”
I missed this guy last year hopefully he can come back to his 2020 form.
Fraudgers are toast.
Enlighten me on way the a frauds
Yes, please do enlighten us.
This one belongs to the Reds
One thing you can say is that Buehler is getting a lot of days off!
Friedman will work his magic at the trade deadline, he always does! Trust the process! A lot of young talent that will be finding their way to the big league roster! Dodgers farm system is an ever flowing stream to the Big Show, this year is no different! I still think they win division! What’s funny is how so many people accuse the Dodgers of “buying championships” when the truth is over the years most of their key guys have been home grown players! Mookie was a trade, Scherzer and Trea came via trade but it’s been their excellent farm system that keeps them afloat! Padres are the team trying to BUY a Championship!
@terryb not to mention the guys they pick up off the clearance isle and trim them into studs, i may not be a lad fan (but i respect them) they seem to have adopted what my birds have been doing for almost 30 years. which imo is the smart way to build a sustainable winning club, build your core from the farm then supplement what your missing with fa’s and trades, also the lad have been smart with there fa signings getting guys that fit well in la and the club
also if you don’t win the division and make the playoffs next few years i’d still take them as my “down” years while rebuilding the team on the fly
I’ll trade a down year for the last decade of playoffs and a WS. Could be a Pirates or Reds fan.
I don’t think that extending Blake Treinen was regrettable as the Dodgers knew the specifics of his injury, and knew if he could recover well enough. They knew the risks, and with the Dodgers brass being smart, and having money they took a chance for next year that he will be there for the team.