Caleb Ferguson frustrated by Dodgers after going back on IL

After the Dodgers put Caleb Ferguson on the injured list this week with tendonitis in his left forearm, manager Dave Roberts said the left-hander was “not particularly thrilled” with the decision.

Sitting outside his cabin in the Dodgers’ clubhouse on Wednesday, a frustrated Ferguson explained why.

“There’s just been a lot of misunderstandings over the last two and a half months,” he said. “Yeah, I’m just kind of tired of the misconceptions about it.”

Twenty months into his second Tommy John surgery and having missed all of last season, Ferguson had hoped his role on the team would be back to normal by now.

Instead, after the 25-year-old started the season on the injured list and spent most of the first two months pitching in Triple A, this week served as the last detour in the 25-year-old’s return to full-time play.

While Ferguson said he’s had pain in his arm for the past few weeks, he believed he could still pitch.

But the Dodgers wanted to take a more cautious route.

Roberts said the team was not comfortable using Ferguson in consecutive games or three times in four days until the pain went away. He acknowledged that the current stretch of 20 straight games and the need to cut the pitching staff by one to comply with the MLB’s newly introduced 13-pitcher roster limit rule, which went into effect this week , were taken into account in their decision-making.

“To give him another one [couple weeks]Whatever it is to set back, to get over that hump of pain, we just felt it was beneficial not just for him but for the other guys at the pen,” Roberts said.

Ferguson was frustrated, and not for the first time in his recovery.

“There were a lot of things in rehab that kind of got changed and yanked around,” Ferguson said. “I don’t know. There’s a lot of people involved in this. Everyone has their own voice to talk about it. I don’t know. It’s kind of a tough question to ask without even trying [a jerk] and call out a few people.”

Ferguson has been working on his return since September 2020, when a torn ulnar collateral ligament ended his best-ever MLB season and forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

He watched the Dodgers win the World Series from home with an arm wrapped in an ice machine, then missed all of last season while in rehab.

He came into spring training this year optimistic that he would be ready for the start of the season after facing live hits throughout the winter. But after playing just three Cactus League games during camp, he opened the season on the injured list and was sent to Triple A for a rehab assignment in late April.

He was finally activated on May 16 to make his first big-league appearance since the injury but was immediately voted back to the minors the next day – a move he said had not been discussed before .

Ferguson made a permanent return to the majors earlier this month and has served six times without giving up a run.

But when the pause button was pressed again this week by his return to the injured list, he again wondered why his assignment was being managed in this way.

“I went through a longer rehab process than I thought – and not really by choice, but the team thought it was best for me,” said Ferguson, who is under team control by contract for two more seasons. “I did it. I shut my mouth and did it. And I feel like we’re kind of getting back to that.

When asked if he tried to push back, Ferguson alluded to more separation.

“I’ve had some conversations,” he said. “Some conversations I feel like I can get my point across, and other conversations I feel like it’s going in one ear and out the other. I feel like there are a few people in my corner who are serious and there are a few people who are business people. That’s so.”

General Manager Brandon Gomes, who is in Cincinnati with the team this week, detailed the club’s approach with Ferguson and the rationale behind this latest IL stint after learning about the pitcher’s comments.

“Part of what makes Ferg great is that he’s a competitor and he wants to serve,” Gomes said. “I think he was feeling pretty good, but there was some smoke in there [with the arm soreness]. And coming off second TJ and trying to take care of his health, both short term and long term…we didn’t feel good about pushing him during that time.”

Trying to balance short-term decisions against long-term goals is nothing new for the Dodgers — especially when it comes to their pitching staff, who have already lost Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen and Tommy Kahnle to long-term injuries this year.

In Ferguson’s case, Gomes said the club tried to balance his workload and ensure “he can field like we would normally field guys, want to field guys without putting him in danger”.

Gomes added that the team still considers Ferguson an important part of their bullpen, a pitcher they want to rely on as the season progresses.

“If he comes back and gets over the hump here,” said Gomes, “we feel really good where he is.”

Ferguson still doesn’t seem sure where exactly that hump is and how much more he has to climb to get to the other side. Caleb Ferguson frustrated by Dodgers after going back on IL

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