The last time Brandon Beachy threw an actual game at Dodger Stadium, 26,345 people attended. That was more than three years ago, back when Beachy was pitching with the Atlanta Braves, before the first surgery to reconstruct his elbow, and the second, and the free-agent deal with the Dodgers this February.
The crowd was considerably smaller on Friday, when Beachy threw a short simulated game off the mound, but at least all the important people were there to watch.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly leaned against the railing in the dugout and observed with the president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt stood behind the mound, and trainer Stan Conte followed closely from behind the third-base line.
All watched Beachy throw three uneventful simulated innings, one more than he threw in his first simulated game. Beachy said he's still not close to a return yet.
"We're definitely not going to rehab games yet," he said. "There's going to be more of these."
Beachy's progress is of more pressing concern to those assembled to observe because of the loss of Hyun-Jin Ryu for the season following surgery to repair a torn labrum. But there remain milestones to hit before Beachy begins rehab starts.
He said he wants to feel more comfortable and confident on the mound. His recovery has to improve. And his pitches — all of them, he said — must regain their sharpness.
"Just moving forward, that's the main thing with him," Mattingly said.
Beachy said he felt good throughout the session.
"I'm in good company," Beachy said.
Beachy said he's confident he'll return this season. The date is still uncertain.
His elbow, he said, is improving.
"It felt all right," he said. "It's getting there. It's not, you know, the best I've ever felt in my life. But it feels good."
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