For the first time in 690 days,
He took the sign and let go.
For the first time since a second reconstructive elbow surgery, Beachy started a big league game Saturday, for the
Where Beachy will fit into the Dodgers' rotation is unclear.
"We have other options moving up coming out of the break," Manager
Much about Beachy is a mystery, even to Beachy. The coaching staff and catchers still must adapt to his rhythms and learn to judge his stamina, something Beachy is still trying to get a feel for.
Before the game, Mattingly wondered what he would do if Beachy told him he could stay in to face another batter. He said he wouldn't know how to respond.
"I don't know if he really knows at this point," Mattingly said.
An effective Beachy would give the Dodgers welcomed flexibility at the back of the rotation. Carlos Frias is on the disabled list and Mattingly hasn't decided if he will return to the rotation or, if Beachy wins a spot, to the bullpen. Before an effective outing Friday, Mike Bolsinger had struggled.
The Dodgers front office has indicated it will move to acquire pitching before the trade deadline. Still, Beachy can pitch himself into a regular spot.
Just getting to Saturday was an accomplishment. Beachy underwent his first Tommy John surgery in 2012 and missed much of the 2013 season. Then, early in 2014, he felt more tightness. An ugly
He needed a second reconstructive elbow surgery.
The list of pitchers who have returned from two Tommy John surgeries is short. One surgery requires a lengthy rehabilitation period, and it can take months or years before a pitcher regains his confidence and command of his delivery.
Beachy now faced an even longer rehabilitation period and an unknown outlook once his arm healed. The recovery process, he said, felt endless. He considered retirement.
"At times there was no light at the end of the tunnel," Beachy said.
Each time, he resolved, "You can't just give up when you don't know. If you want something, you go for it."
Beachy worked deliberately to ease his arm into form. He obsessed over bullpen sessions, Mattingly said, and took his time to feel right.
The risks of rushing were clear. The
Beachy said Parker's setback didn't alter his timeline, which he said was different from Parker's from the start.
"We didn't change anything due to any outside factors," Beachy said.
His first pitch in almost 23 months was a 91-mph fastball, high and away for a ball. The at-bat ended in a sharp line-drive single.
After that he settled down. He wrestled with his command for much of the night, and his fastball didn't crackle — it sat at about 90 mph and topped out at 93 — but his curveball was crisp.
In the third inning, he gave up a three-run double to
His night ended early, after 78 pitches. It wasn't enough to provide a clear picture of where he fits on this team. But it was a start a long time in the making.