22 surgeries, $55 million and one Hall of Fame

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Darren Dreifort is going to be honored with induction into the national surgery hall of fame.

Actually, the oft-injured and frequently maligned former Dodgers
pitcher will be entering the College Baseball Hall of Fame. But is
there any doubt he could qualify for both?

The L.A. Times notes
that Dreifort will be inducted on Friday in Lubbock, Texas, assuming,
in his words, “whether I can walk, or how well I’m getting around.”

It’s nice to see the right-hander honored for his accomplishments at
Wichita State, but is a painful reminder for Dodgers fans of how
injuries derailed the career of a promising pitcher chosen one spot
behind Alex Rodriguez in the 1993 draft. The Dodgers paid Dreifort
nearly $64 million over the course of his career, including a $55
million deal before the 2001 season. For all that money, they got a
48-60 record and 274 appearances as a starter and reliever over parts
of 11 seasons.

The grisly details:

  • Dreifort just had his 22nd surgery, this one on his hip.
  • It was his 20th surgery since leaving college, and his eighth since his last game with the Dodgers, Aug. 16, 2004.
  • Has had two elbow reconstructions, and twice sat out entire seasons.
  • And even though retired, his luck has not changed.

    These days, Dreifort appears to be in peak condition, dressed for
    an interview in shorts, a tight T-shirt and running shoes. He notes,
    however, that he experiences almost constant pain.

    “I’m doing nothing,” he says on the eve of his most recent visit to the operating room, “and I’m still having surgery.”

    Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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    Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

    Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

    Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

    Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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    Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

    Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

    Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.