LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn't even begun playing catch since the latest setback to his injured left shoulder and the Los Angeles Dodgers have basically no idea when -- or even if – the left-hander will rejoin their rotation this season.
That means that Brandon Beachy's chances of improving the back of the Dodgers' rotation might be more robust than Ryu's, which is amazing when you think about it.
The Dodgers have scheduled a simulated game for Beachy before Saturday's contest against the Colorado Rockies. If that goes well, it could be just a matter of days before Beachy embarks on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment to start building his body up to join the team -- probably sometime in June. The Dodgers signed Beachy, a former Atlanta Braves right-hander, to a one-year, $2.75 million deal in spring training, an investment that seems to indicate they believe it's a risk worth taking.
But the odds aren't particularly favorable and recent anecdotal evidence is downright scary. Oakland A's right-hander Jarrod Parker, who also was working his way back from a second Tommy John surgery, fractured a bone in his elbow during a minor-league rehab game last week. The injury isn't uncommon for Tommy John patients.
"Obviously, if I'm Brandon Beachy and I see that, I'm probably not sleeping that great that night," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "But I don't think it's changed our rehab process. It was scheduled to be longer. We're taking our time with him and we're still taking our time."
One recent study at the Henry Ford Hospital found that 87 percent of major-league pitchers make it back to pro baseball after one elbow reconstruction surgery and only 65.5 percent made it back after two such surgeries. The Dodgers had one of those success stories, Brian Wilson, pitching for them in 2013 and 2014, but Wilson's performance declined dramatically last season and he is no longer pitching.