If all goes well for the Dodgers, a team playing its April with four starting pitchers soon could have six.
With Hyun-Jin Ryu injured, the Dodgers have used a fifth starter just once in their first 12 games. They gave David Huff a spot start, then designated him for assignment the following day.
Ryu, diagnosed in mid-March with what the Dodgers called inflammation in his left shoulder, is playing catch but has yet to throw off a mound. Ryu would not say Sunday when he expected to return but laughed and said “of course” when asked if he would be back before the All-Star break.
Brandon Beachy already is throwing bullpen sessions. Beachy, signed as a free agent in February as he recovered from his second Tommy John surgery, said he has had no setbacks in his rehabilitation program.
“Everything is good,” Beachy said Sunday. “I’m really happy.”
The Dodgers hope he might be able to help as soon as June, which would be 15 months after his last Tommy John surgery. He came back 13 months after he first had the procedure, but he lasted five starts before his elbow troubled him once again.
Beachy dismissed the idea that the Dodgers’ depth removed any pressure on him to accelerate his rehabilitation so he could help the club.
“I’m not going to rush no matter what our depth is like,” he said. “That’s not going to help me or the team, if they get me back for one or two starts.”
Beachy, 28, went 7-3 with a 3.68 earned-run average for the Atlanta Braves in 2011, striking out 169 in 141 1/3 innings. That remains his only full season in the major leagues. So he is tempering his anticipation, even as he remains confident he can help the Dodgers at some point this season.
“I’d like to think so,” he said. “But these things can change in an instant, so it’s nothing I get excited about yet.”