Well, you’re about to learn the hard way! It wasn’t exactly a pleasant way in which the news was broken on Friday.
Right before the start of Los Angeles’ spring training game against the Kansas City Royals, manager Dave Roberts provided an update on the right-hander, and it was bizarre, to say the least.
Graterol has yet to throw off a mound! What is going on?
Most recently, we heard the reliever was learning a slider from fellow pitcher Walker Buehler, which is promising.
Graterol previously mentioned that he was preparing for the 162-game grind by getting his body right and losing some weight. Could those be the factors holding him back?
Don’t forget, before coming to LA shortly after the blockbuster Mookie Betts trade — the Dodgers sent right-hander Kenta Maeda, catching prospect Jair Camargo and cash considerations to the Twins for Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley, and the 67th selection in the 2020 Draft — Graterol appeared in just 10 MLB games for Minnesota.
He has absolutely zero experience with a full workload in relief for an entire campaign, which, one could say, was a blessing in disguise for the Dodgers in 2020 because he was able to contribute regularly without any fatigue issues.
But now, heading into 2021, he figures to be an integral part of the bullpen alongside Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, Victor Gonzalez, Corey Knebel and others, so the Dodgers want to make sure he’s right before rushing him to the bump before he’s ready.
Still, it’s a tad concerning nothing is being revealed here aside from the fact that Graterol couldn’t pitch regularly over the winer in his native Venezuela. Why was that the case? Because of his extended play through the end of October?
We don’t know, and we may never know, but as long as he’s healthy and comfortable pitching by the time April arrives, Dodgers fans won’t take issue.
Seeing Graterol at his best and showboating on the mound is expected to be among the most exciting factors for the team heading into 2021.