It hasn’t even been a full calendar year since promising young Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Dustin May underwent Tommy John surgery following a scary elbow injury suffered against the Milwaukee Brewers in his fifth start of the 2021 campaign.
That’s what makes the progress in his recovery so impressive. Though it’s still largely unclear when May will return, he spoke to reporters on Tuesday about his situation and revealed he’s thrown eight bullpen sessions in the month of April, with the latest featuring 25 pitches.
Uh, that’s significant! And May’s eventual return, which is tentatively slated for the “latter third” of the regular season, could come at the perfect time for the Dodgers. We can expect fatigue (among other factors) at that point, especially with a number of pitchers (Andrew Heaney, David Price and Blake Treinen) already hitting the injured list in the early going.
Throw in the fact manager Dave Roberts told the media that May is being built back up as a starter, and the Dodgers’ starting rotation could remain tops in the league from start to finish with such a reinforcement coming in August.
May’s next step is incorporating breaking pitches into his following bullpen session after throwing his cutter for the first time on Tuesday. There’s still time to go here, but the news is beyond encouraging, especially when you take into account how a lot of pitchers don’t even start throwing off of a mound until a year after the procedure.
So there you have it. For those wondering whether May would return as a starter or a reliever, we now have the most definitive news to date.
Dustin May is on track to return to the Dodgers rotation this year.
May’s first bullpen session came at the beginning of this month, so it’s not like this is an over-exaggeration. Fans can expect more substantial updates once he starts throwing his curveball — the third pitch in his arsenal.
The righty’s nasty fastball, which averages 98 MPH, is his calling card, but his secondary pitches are what make that offering all the more lethal. His cutter averages 93 MPH and his curve usually sits around 86 MPH, giving him a notable velocity differential between the three.
Perhaps there was a reason the Dodgers only upgraded their rotation in marginal fashion by giving Tony Gonsolin a spot and signing Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson to provide innings in the back end.
May gave us a sneak peek five months ago of him throwing a baseball for the first time, so it’s evident the Dodgers took that notable step in the recovery process seriously, believing he’d be back in full force for a solid portion of the 2022 season.
How about a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, May and a roving No. 5 spot of Heaney, Gonsolin and Anderson, with Price also able to step in when needed?
Assuming everyone can largely stay healthy, the Dodgers’ plan seems to be unfolding just as they envisioned.