Dodgers long wait for Blake Treinen after injury woes might've been well worth it

May 5, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen (49) makes a
May 5, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen (49) makes a / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers bullpen finally got a win when the team announced on Sunday that Blake Treinen, who started the season on the IL after taking a line drive to the ribs in spring training, would be returning to the active roster. It was paired with some very unfortunate news — Evan Phillips went on the 15-day IL with a hamstring strain — but at least Treinen would be making his long-awaited return to the mound.

Treinen was a formidable reliever for the Dodgers in 2021, but he only managed to pitch five innings in 2022 (three in April, two in September after multiple IL stints and a failed rehab assignment between them) before undergoing labrum and rotator cuff surgeries that took him out for all of 2023.

Getting set back once again in spring training, after it'd already been over a year since he last took to a major league mound, was a blow to the Dodgers' bullpen, but the timing on his ultimate return couldn't have been better. Dodgers relievers have been in rough shape and, even with Phillips on the IL, at least getting Treinen back made everything get a little closer to a net neutral.

Blake Treinen's spotless first inning with the Dodgers since 2022 was just what the bullpen needed

On Sunday night, Treinen came in for the top of the eighth. The Dodgers had given him a relatively comfortable lead to work with (4-1 over the Braves), but blowing up in his first spot back wouldn't have been the best way to launch his return. But Treinen didn't disappoint. The count was full with Jarred Kelenic batting, then Treinen threw a nasty back foot slider that had Kelenic swinging out of his shoes and Treinen putting his first strikeout since 2022 on the board.

The rest of the frame passed without incident as well; Ronald Acuña grounded out, then Ozzie Albies flew out to end the inning. All told, it took Treinen 11 pitches to retire three batters in a row, and the Dodgers went on to win the game 5-1 on the back of a four-hit, two homer day for Shohei Ohtani.

The Dodgers' bullpen woes are far from solved, but having Treinen back to hopefully repeat his 72 1/3 inning, 1.99 ERA season in 2021 is a step in the right direction. Now, we just really need to hope that nothing with Phillips' injury gets worse.