When Brandon League makes his scheduled rehabilitation appearance Sunday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, he will likely do so without the same weapons that once made him an all-star closer.
League said that when he threw live batting practice at the Dodgers’ spring-training facility in Arizona last week, his pitches were clocked at less than 90 mph.
“Anywhere from 80 to 89,” he said.
The sinkerballer was throwing in the mid-90s as recently as last season.
Asked if he expected to be throwing harder once he starts pitching in real games, League replied, “I don’t really have any expectations with the velocity. If I’m able to compete, it doesn’t really matter how hard I’m throwing.”
League has spent the entire season to date on the disabled list, as shoulder problems forced him to stop throwing late in spring training. League considered surgery but opted instead for a rehabilitation program.
Considering the recent radar-gun readings, has League considered the possibility that he might have to reinvent himself as a pitcher?
“I had to go through every possibility, anywhere from surgery to never pitching again, so being able to get back in the game is always a plus,” he said.
League, 32, is in the final year of a three-year, $22.5-million contract.
He lost his job as the team’s closer in the first year of his contract, but bounced back last season to post a 2.57 earned-run average in 63 innings as a middle reliever.