Trevor Bauer returns to Camelback Ranch; Dodgers bullpen takes a hit during trip to Korea

By | March 11, 2024

For the first time since being released by the Dodgers last year, Trevor Bauer returned to Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon.

It was not a glamorous reunion.

On an unremarkable backfield, against players from all levels of the Dodgers minor league teams, and with an unrecognizable black-and-red uniform draped over him, Bauer pitched in an exhibition game for a team called Asian Breeze – a Japanese practice club for players hoping land professional contracts.

The 32-year-old pitched three scoreless innings and, he was told, clocked 90 mph with his fastball on the pitch’s Trackman system.

However, the awkwardness of the occasion was nonetheless impossible to ignore.

Over the past three years, Bauer has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, although he has never been charged with a crime.

In 2022, he was given the longest suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy, even after his initial 324-game ban was reduced to 194 games by an independent arbitrator.

Since being released by the Dodgers last January, Bauer has yet to be signed by another MLB team — despite his insistence that he is “still one of the best pitchers in the world.”

“I’m a better pitcher than the last time people saw me here,” Bauer said. “Hopefully today reminded them that I’m still an elite pitcher.”

Read more: Trevor Bauer wants to return to majoring: ‘I don’t believe I got a lifetime ban’

Bauer played in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league last season. He said he has offered MLB teams to play this season for the league’s minimum salary.

Less than three weeks after opening day, he is still without a big league job.

So the former Cy Young Award winner accepted an invitation to pitch for Asian Breeze this spring.

Bauer said Asian Breeze initially planned to pitch him in a Saturday game against the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. But when that game was postponed, Bauer’s appearance was moved to Sunday.

“I don’t really care who I pitch to, to be honest,” Bauer said of his return to the Dodgers’ spring training home. “I just love pitching. Hopefully they enjoyed it and had a good time.”

With the start of the season quickly approaching, what does Bauer, who remains active on YouTube and social media, plan to do?

“Try to entertain fans on YouTube and then see where it goes,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m not really making any plans right now because everything is out of my control.”

Graterol out for Korea games; Trains questionable

The Dodgers won’t have a full-strength bullpen for their season-opening games in South Korea next week.

Right-handed reliever Brusdar Graterol told reporters Sunday morning that he would miss the team’s international trip to Seoul because of tightness in his left hip and discomfort in his throwing shoulder.

Fellow right-hander Blake Treinen is also questionable for the trip after being hit in the side by a line drive on Saturday that resulted in a bruised lung – but, importantly, no broken ribs.

“How the lung gets bruised without rupture,” manager Dave Roberts said of Treinen’s diagnosis, “it’s a blessing.”

Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol poses for a photo during spring training.Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol poses for a photo during spring training.

Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol poses for a photo during spring training. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Graterol wasn’t so lucky with his injury, limiting the 25-year-old flamethrower to just one appearance in the Cactus League on March 2.

Since then, Graterol said he felt some tension in his left hip — the lead hip on his quick delivery — and “wasn’t able to land the way I wanted” on the mound.

Graterol said he believes his shoulder problems, which he described as minor, were the result of overcompensation for his hip in his mechanics.

“I’ve been trying to process some of that, loosen it up a little bit,” Graterol said in Spanish. “I’m just trying to prevent anything big from happening.”

Graterol said he was disappointed to miss the trip to Korea, where the Dodgers will open the regular season with two games against the San Diego Padres. He remained hopeful of being ready for the Dodgers’ domestic opener on March 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I want to be 100% healthy once the regular season starts and everything to come,” Graterol said.

Roberts did not provide further details on Graterol’s timeline, but indicated that Daniel Hudson will likely replace Graterol on the team’s Korean roster.

Hudson was previously a question to be ready for Opening Day after sitting out most of the past two years due to knee injuries, but “has become significantly more refined” with his mechanics and command in recent outings, Roberts said.

Treinen, on the other hand, remains unsure about participating in Korea, but appears to have avoided any worst-case scenario.

After sitting out all of last season and most of 2022 due to shoulder injuries, the 35-year-old veteran was in the midst of a strong spring when he lined his side in a Cactus League game on Saturday afternoon.

While the team initially called the injury a bruised rib, Treinen went to get an X-ray and CT scan to confirm he did not have any broken ribs.

The scans did show a bruised lung, but Roberts described it as a positive outcome for Treinen, who is now scheduled to play catch on Monday and have a bullpen session on Wednesday. If he gets through both sessions with a good feeling, he might be able to join the team’s flight to Korea on Thursday.

“We didn’t dodge baseball,” Roberts joked. “But we dodged a bullet.”

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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