Wondering what you could’ve expected out of reliever Blake Treinen upon his return, Los Angeles Dodgers fans? Turns out, not that much, because he’s already back on the injured list with another shoulder issue.
Treinen went down back on April 14 with a shoulder injury in his throwing arm after pitching in just three games. The diagnosis ended up being a partial tear in the front capsule of his right shoulder, and Treinen suggested the Dodgers starting off the year in cold weather cities (Colorado and Cincinnati) played a role in his condition.
The timeline surrounding the right-hander was always unclear. It was thought he’d miss a few months, then it was return by the All-Star break, then it was August, and then finally it happened at the beginning of September.
How did Treinen make that happen? He declined to undergo surgery to repair the injury, which he was initially advised to undergo when the injury occurred, and instead opted to move forward with rehab.
Nearly five months later, Treinen was able to return to the mound. But only two innings of action was all he needed to land back on the IL with shoulder tightness.
Did Dodgers’ Blake Treinen make a mistake by forgoing shoulder surgery?
Now, what if Treinen can’t get back on track, needs surgery anyway, and then has the start of his 2023 season delayed? Was his decision to rehab the shoulder tear the wrong one? Should he have undergone the procedure back in May?
This isn’t just fan speculation, either. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman actually commented on the matter last month.
Fans have to wonder how the Dodgers feel about this, too. Back in May, seemingly under the assumption Treinen would be out for the rest of 2022, the team extended the right-hander through 2023 and guaranteed him $8 million (he originally had a team option for that season) in what was both a gesture of good faith and roster prudence. Treinen got another year, and the Dodgers kept one of their most important relievers at a good price. Everybody wins.
But now, depending on how the rest of the regular season shakes out, it could be a one-sided affair if Treinen eventually needs surgery.
He was placed on the IL on Sept. 10 and played catch the last couple days. He said he felt good throwing and hopes he’s ready for the postseason, but exactly how effective will he be after pitching just five total innings this year? He’ll end up being an added bullpen bonus that will be hard for manager Dave Roberts to rely upon.
It’s more than likely Treinen would’ve missed the remainder of 2022 had he undergone surgery, but now he’s in danger of missing all of 2022 and a portion of 2023 (to go along with the general “getting back up to speed” reps that will eat more time off the calendar).
In hindsight, based on the medical recommendations and how the Dodgers seemingly felt after inking him to an extension, it seems Treinen’s decision to rehab might’ve been the wrong one.