SAN DIEGO -- The 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers are as much about who is not on the Opening Day roster as who is on it, as the team has a number of key players nursing injuries.
The pessimist would say the disappointment is starting early, while the optimist can see the talent that eventually will join the squad as the season unfolds.
The Dodgers have just about every position covered by the disabled list. There are infielders Alex Guerrero (left knee contusion) and Howie Kendrick (strained left calf), an outfielder in Andre Ethier (broken right tibia), and even a catcher in Yasmani Grandal (right forearm soreness).
But it’s on the pitching side where the Dodgers’ injuries really cause concern. Brett Anderson (herniated disc surgery), Mike Bolsinger (left oblique strain), Brandon McCarthy (right UCL surgery), Frankie Montas (rib resection surgery), Josh Ravin (left radius fracture) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder surgery) all could end up helping the team before the season ends, but getting healthy again will be the first priority. And this list doesn’t even include Brandon Beachy (elbow soreness), who was reassigned to minor-league camp in advance of the Freeway Series.
And it could have been worse, as rookie shortstop Corey Seager (left knee sprain) just made it back in time to play in the Freeway Series. Justin Turner, who had microfracture knee surgery in the offseason, didn't even start playing in games until midway through the Cactus League schedule.
Alex Wood had a spring start skipped because of forearm soreness, Scott Kazmir had a scare with an abdominal issue that turned out to be cramping because of dehydration, and Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig had minor issues that caused each player to miss a few days this spring.
Grandal could be the first to return. He and Kendrick are not expected to be out very long, with both of their DL stints retroactive to March 25, the furthest they could be backdated. It gives both the chance of returning before the home opener on April 12 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Bolsinger could also be back before the opening month is complete, although oblique injuries are tricky in that even when the player is pain free he still needs to be on a cautious recovery schedule.
Ryu’s return looks more like later May or early June, while McCarthy has a goal of two starts before the All-Star break. McCarthy admits it is an optimistic goal, but it is based on a best-case-scenario recovery schedule. Anderson could be a second-half addition.