Earlier this week, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke to the media about a number of topics and slid in an update on pitcher Ryan Pepiot, who has been out with an oblique strain since spring training. Pretty ridiculous stuff.
There's "good" news we suppose, as Pepiot began a throwing program at the Dodgers' spring training facility, which should see the right-hander return after the All-Star break, though we don't specifically know when.
A setback in his recovery a month ago drastically altered the timetable for return, which has left the Dodgers down another pitcher thus far into the 2023 season. Had the Dodgers pitching staff been better equipped, perhaps they wouldn't be staring down the barrel of a wild card berth at the moment.
There's time for everything to turn around -- the Dodgers are only 3.5 games out of first place in the NL West -- but can they really rely on positive, effective contributions from Pepiot? It seems like the right-hander is in the same, mysterious boat as other injured pitchers such as Dustin May, Daniel Hudson, Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson, JP Feyereisen, Walker Buehler, etc.
It's hard to project what any of those arms might be able to bring to the table this season with all the time they've missed. Throw in Pepiot's limited MLB experience of just nine games, and it's hard to truly factor him in as a difference maker once he's able to return.
Can Dodgers rely on contributions from Ryan Pepiot in 2023 after injury update?
Pepiot needed at least a portion of the first half of 2023 to improve upon his 2022 numbers (3.47 ERA, 5.42 FIP and 1.46 WHIP featuring 27 walks in 36.1 innings) to establish himself as a viable member of the team.
A week prior to this most recent update, manager Dave Roberts said "we're a ways out" from Pepiot's 2023 debut, which sounds like it'll be further after the All-Star break than we had initially intended. Typically, once pitchers begin a throwing program, there's no defined return timetable.
Dodgers Nation has suggested Pepiot might be a candidate to eat some innings later in the year and more than likely won't be a postseason option.
Part of the Dodgers' 2023 situation has been unlucky. A good deal of it has consisted of risky gambles that haven't panned out. Pepiot falls under the "bad luck" column, which would've been far easier to swallow had LA's pitching situation been a bit more stable.
At this point, whatever Dodgers fans see from Pepiot this season feels like it'll be a preview/setup for 2024, making the trade deadline more important than ever.