Dodgers injury update: Evan Phillips and Ryan Brasier to return soon for bullpen?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The Dodgers bullpen has seen some massive improvements in the span of just a few weeks. In mid-April, LA's relievers ranked 22nd in ERA and led the majors in innings pitched, as starters struggled to go deep into games and really pull their weight. They also saw some major losses in Evan Phillips, Ryan Brasier, and Joe Kelly to the IL, but it did force the Dodgers to stop sending pitchers up and down from the minors and let Nabil Crismatt and JP Feyereisen settle into their roles.

The bullpen slowly but surely worked its way up the rankings as ERAs fell, and through Tuesday night's game, they have the fourth-best ERA in the majors (3.08) behind the Guardians, Yankees, and Mets. Starters have also been getting better (they're also fourth in ERA) and have been pitching more innings, taking some of the onus off LA's relievers, who have now been overtaken by the Marlins and Athletics in innings pitched.

Roster moves are to be expected as soon as some of those injured arms recover, but the Dodgers may be getting two of their best back soon. Phillips and Brasier are both reported to be making good progress after going on the IL in early May and late April respectively.

Dodgers injury update: Evan Phillips and Ryan Brasier progressing well, Phillips expected to return soon

Phillips went onto the 15-day IL on May 5 with a hamstring strain, but his progress has seemed blessedly linear compared to Brusdar Graterol and, before his return on the same day Phillips went onto the IL, Blake Treinen's topsy-turvy journey. Dave Roberts said Phillips will be throwing of a mound on Wednesday and, while he might not be ready to return immediately on May 20, it "shouldn't be too long after."

Brasier doesn't have as clear a timeline, but will throw off a mound at "some point soon." He went onto the IL with a calf strain on April 29, retroactive to April 28, and was eligible to return on Monday, but given the bullpen's recent strides, there's little incentive to rush him.

LA's relievers were in an even worse position last June than they were this April, so it's comforting to know that even if bad bullpen performance is just going to be a given in early months, at least the Dodgers are bouncing back sooner and better.