Dodgers confident as Brandon McCarthy recovers from Tommy John surgery

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dave Roberts has no qualms about listing Brandon McCarthy among the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitching depth, even though the right-hander still is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

As his teammates start building up for the season at spring training, McCarthy estimated he is about three months behind and plans on returning to the Dodgers’ rotation just before the All-Star break.

“When you look the context of depth, he is a part of that for sure,” Roberts said. “It’s almost, sometimes, that you look at it where he’s a midseason acquisition. Those usually happen sometimes in June, the end of July. With that, it usually speaks to the depth.”

The Dodgers are expected to start the season with Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda and Brett Anderson in the rotation. Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) might return by late April or May, with Alex Wood a likely rotation candidate when the season starts.

The next wave of potential starters includes Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee, Carlos Frias and Brandon Beachy. After that are the high-level prospects like Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and Ross Stripling.

Specific dates for a return are usually shied away from because the perception of a setback, and mental letdown, if that targeted date is not met. But McCarthy has not only targeted a return before the break, he wants to make exactly two big league starts by then.

“That means we have been pretty hiccup free, every box has been checked off and we have gotten to where I need to be then I should be feeling good at that point,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “But if it doesn’t get there then we just have to adjust as we go.”

McCarthy has reported no issues with the recovery process thus far.

“He’s tracking nicely; he’s where he wants to be,” Roberts said. “Mentally he is in a good place, physically he’s where he wants to be so he’s getting better and hopefully we continue that trend.”