Dodgers News: Rehabbing Reliever Might Not Be Ready to Start the Season

Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson, recovering from a torn ACL, might not be ready by Opening Day, according to Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts.

Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson was one of the most dependable options for LA manager Dave Roberts out of the bullpen the first half of last season, posting a 2.22 ERA in 25.1 innings. Unfortunately for Hudson and Los Angeles, his season ended prematurely when he planted wrong trying to field an infield grounder and tore his ACL.

Hudson and the Dodgers agreed on a contract for 2023 late last season, and he’s back in training camp with Los Angeles this spring. Hudson, who will turn 36 next week, is expected to once again be a force out of the bullpen for LA.

But maybe not on Opening Day.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the media on Thursday that Hudson might not be quite ready to start the season on the active roster. He had been hobbled by an ankle issue at the beginning of spring, but Roberts said it’s mostly the knee recovery that is slowing him down.

“Huddy is moving forward. I saw him yesterday in a ‘pen, he looked really good. Is he progressing? Absolutely. Is he going to be an impact reliever for us? Yes. Is it Opening Day? I don’t know about that yet. I do believe it will be early on in the season, but I don’t think Opening Day is a hard date for us right now. …

“I think it’s a combo [of build-up and injury recovery]. I would say moreso the knee, the knee and the arm. The arm doesn’t take as much time, he’s been throwing, he’s a one-inning guy. But the knee, as far as PFPs [pitchers fielding practices] and the recovery and stuff like that, we’ve got to be very sensitive to. …

“[In his bullpen sessions], if you didn’t know about the knee and the ankle, you wouldn’t know any different. He can spin the baseball, he can command the baseball, it looks really good. …

“I think preparing and knowing that’s a possibility [for Hudson to not be on the Opening Day roster], that’s fair, yeah.”

So it’s not really a setback, it’s just that it’s only been about eight months since Hudson’s ACL surgery. It’s also possibly about a logjam in the Los Angeles bullpen, where there are at least a dozen pitchers vying for eight spots. If they’re trying to manage Hudson’s workload this season because of his age and injury history – and they haven’t said they are, this is conjecture – you can kind of kill two birds with one stone by starting him on the IL and letting the other bullpen competitions play out a little longer. A similar approach could happen with Jimmy Nelson.

Either way, at some point early in the season, Hudson will be back on the active roster, and hopefully he’ll pick up right where he left off last June.

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