Dodgers hopeful for healthy year from reliever Adam Liberatore
During the summer of 2016, as the Dodgers scraped to stay relevant with Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, relief arrived from an unheralded source.
Adam Liberatore, then a 29-year-old left-hander with scant big-league experience, set a franchise record with 28 consecutive scoreless appearances. Manager Dave Roberts came to rely on him during that stretch. Liberatore pitched through pain in his elbow while striking out 28 batters in those 22 1/3 innings.
The streak ended in July. The discomfort in his elbow began to reduce his effectiveness. Liberatore underwent a season-ending debridement that October. He appeared in just four games for the Dodgers last season and required another operation last fall.
Liberatore has said he will be ready for opening day this season. Roberts described Liberatore as a “full go” for participation in spring drills.
“In talking to Adam, he seems like he’s in a good mind frame,” Roberts said. “Last year, injuries can kind of derail guys. It wasn’t a year for him to remember.”
The Dodgers do not lack for left-handed relievers. Tony Cingrani showed signs of improvement after the team acquired him from Cincinnati last summer. The Dodgers poached Scott Alexander from Kansas City.
Roberts hopes Liberatore can provide depth for that duo.
“For a point, he was one of the best left-handers in the game, from the relief side,” Roberts said. “He knows he can do it. He’s had parts of three years with us. It goes to the bullpen depth that we do have.”
Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes
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