Dodgers Injuries: Brandon League Out Eight Weeks

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It’s been a rough Spring for Dodgers late inning relievers. Kenley Jansen is out at least another five weeks, but he is getting his walking boot removed on Tuesday. Jansen has been throwing while in the boot.

While Jansen is on the mend and looks to be back on the mound soon, Brandon League‘s prognosis is a lot more concerning. Ken Gurnick reported that the once successful closer  (League saved 37 games for Seattle in 2011) was “devastated” by his shoulder injury. League had a underappreciated season for the Dodgers in 2014, and the groundball specialist was looking to be an important arm in the late innings for the Dodgers while Kenley is rehabbing. League chose to take a non-surgical approach to his “significant right shoulder injury,” and he will be out at least eight weeks. Brandon will open the season on the disabled list alongside Kenley Jansen and Hyun-jin Ryu who have also succumbed to Spring injuries.  

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The details of League’s shoulder injury have been hazy. It has been described as posterior right shoulder inflammation by the Dodgers. Surgery was an option, but the recovery time for arthroscopic clean-up surgery would have been longer than the eight weeks and would have essentially kept League out the entirety of the season. Brandon League last pitched for the Dodgers on March 9th, but he felt shoulder discomfort a couple of days later during his bullpen session. He tried a cortisone injection, but the discomfort continued during subsequent Spring Training bullpen sessions.

League pitched 1 1/3 inning this Spring in 2 games. He allowed 5 runs on 3 hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Even though League’s MRI showed no new structural damage from a 2012 MRI, the significance of his shoulder injury still could lead to surgery down the line should this conservative eight-week rehab program fail to relieve his shoulder inflammation.

League will most likely start the season on the 60-day disabled list. He is making $8.5 million in his final year of his contract with a $7.5M vesting option for 2016. According to BaseballReference.com the option is $7.5M with 55 games finished in 2015; $8.5M with 55 games finished in 2015 and 100 games finished in 2014-15; $9M with 55 GF in 2015 and 150 GF in 2013-15. League pitched in 63 games for the Dodgers in 2014.

Late inning relief options for the Dodgers now include J.P. Howell, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher and Paco Rodriguez.

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