Tommy Kahnle Not Making Late Return To Dodgers Bullpen
Tommy Kahnle, 2021 Spring Training
Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos

One focus for the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason was addressing their bullpen, which included the signing of Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract.

The right-hander reportedly chose to sign with L.A. over the Boston Red Sox, who were believed to have offered contract similar to the $4.75 million deal he signed. Kahnle’s contract additionally included a signing bonus and incentives for appearances.

However, the addition appeared to be more of a play for the 2022 season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Kahnle did express a desire to return late this season, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ruled out the possibility, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

Roberts said Saturday that Kahnle’s rehab timetable had changed in the spring. He has only progressed to playing catch and won’t pitch in 2021.

Kahnle appeared in just one game for the New York Yankees last year, throwing 20 pitches in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals on July 26.

He felt discomfort in his elbow during a bullpen session two days later, which prompted an MRI that revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament and led to the season-ending surgery.

Before that, Kahnle established himself as a key member of the Yankees bullpen. In 2019 he pitched to a 3.67 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 88 strikeouts and 20 walks over 61.1 innings in 72 appearances.

Kahnle could be key for 2022

While the Dodgers presumably would have welcomed Kahnle potentially contributing this year, he appears primed to fill a larger role next season.

Kenley Jansen and Corey Knebel are both due to become a free agent this winter and the Dodgers could buyout the remaining year on Joe Kelly’s contract, which would create a void among right-handed relief pitchers in the Dodgers bullpen and opportunity for Kahnle to step in.

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