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Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly.
When healthy, Ted Lilly has quietly put up consistently decent numbers throughout his 14-year MLB career.
Unfortunately, it’s been shoulder problems that have plagued the crafty left-hander over the last few seasons. While Lilly is too talented to not have a spot in some MLB rotation, the arthroscopic surgery he received in September leaves a number of questions unanswered.
If the surgery affected his already low velocity, the break on his curve and slider, or even his delivery, Lilly could be in trouble.
While Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the first three spots in the rotation, the Dodgers have five veterans competing for the four and five spots, all of which are healthy, that is, except Lilly.
The New York Times says, common risks regarding arthroscopic shoulder surgery are weakness and stiffness of the shoulder and injuries to blood vessels or nerves.
Lilly, who turned 37 last month, will not only have to rehab, but compete for a spot in the rotation, all of which will put excess stress on that shoulder. Lilly is also approaching the final year on his deal, making him expendable, whether that be via trade or release due to injury.
In the end, Lilly will likely overcome his shoulder problems, but if he doesn’t, don’t expect the Dodgers to keep an injured 37-year-old on the roster.