Didn't get who you wanted at the MLB trade deadline? Injured stars whose return will be as good as a blockbuster deal

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The Los Angeles Dodgers approached the 2022 MLB trade deadline with the confidence that they could compete for the best available players -- but with the belief that they might not have to.

Their injured list, ironically enough, emboldened them.

The Dodgers took a flier on Joey Gallo, whom they hope to revive within an outfield mix that at times has seemed shallow. But they did very little on the pitching front, not adding a single arm to their rotation, the area outsiders identified as their most pressing need down the stretch. As part of his reasoning, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman rattled off a list of seven pitchers who are expected to return in the near future, several of whom boast either the track record or the talent -- or both -- to make a sizable impact on their postseason run.

"I think our pitching staff is really good and will most likely get considerably better," Friedman said. "I feel really, really confident that we'll have a really good 13-man pitching staff in October."

Dustin May embodies most of that belief. The 24-year-old right-hander is nearly 15 months removed from Tommy John surgery and four rehab outings into his progression. His recovery, Friedman said, has been "extremely encouraging." Before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, May was establishing himself as one of the best young pitchers in the sport, with a 2.74 ERA and 35 strikeouts in his first 23 innings of 2021 -- thanks in large part to a ridiculous, upper-90s two-seamer that continually baffled the game's best hitters.