A group of geese is called a gaggle. A group of lions is called a pride. What do you call the Dodgers’ collection of starting pitching?
With a rotation that already includes aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, as well as Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley, and Josh Beckett, the Dodgers are in a position to deal at least one of Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that Lilly is the most likely to be dealt:
Ted Lilly, LHP, Dodgers — Growing interest in the lefty, who missed most of last season after May, as he makes his way back from shoulder surgery. There seems to be more interest in the 37-year-old Lilly than in Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano, two extra Dodgers starters who also could be dealt. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they are assured that Chad Billingsley is 100 percent ready after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason that enabled him to bypass Tommy John surgery.
Lilly posted a 3.14 ERA in the eight starts he made early in 2012 before going on the disabled list. Capuano bounced back after a rough 2011 with the Mets, finishing with a 3.72 ERA in 198.1 innings. Harang had his second consecutive solid season, ending 2012 with a 3.61 ERA in 179.2 innings. Any of the three would be an upgrade at the back of most starting rotations, but teams likely won’t start calling the Dodgers until the regular season nears. The Dodgers’ leverage in negotiations will be weaker, meaning that they would have to eat more of the pitchers’ salaries.
Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four-to-six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.
Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.
The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.
This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”