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

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

A glamorous reunion, it was not.

On a nondescript backfield, against prospects 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 tryout club for players hoping to land professional contracts.

The 32-year-old tossed three scoreless innings and, he was told, clocked 99 mph with his fastball on the field’s Trackman system.

The awkwardness of the occasion, however, was nonetheless impossible to ignore.

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

In 2022, he received 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 I was last time people here saw me,” Bauer said. “Hopefully today reminded them that I’m still an elite pitcher.”

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

Less than three weeks from opening day, he remains with 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 exhibition against the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. But when that game was postponed, Bauer’s outing was pushed back to Sunday.

“I don’t really care who I pitch against, honestly,” Bauer said about returning to the Dodgers’ spring training home. “I just like to pitch. Hopefully, they enjoyed it and had a good time.”

As for what Bauer, who remains active on YouTube and social media, plans to do next with the start of the season fast approaching?

“Try to entertain fans on YouTube and then see where it goes from there,” he said. “I don’t know. I don’t really plan at this point, because everything is out of my control.”

Graterol out for Korea games; Treinen 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 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 getting hit in the side by a line drive Saturday that resulted in a bruised lung — but, more importantly, no broken ribs.

“How the lung gets bruised with no fracture,” manager Dave Roberts said of Treinen’s diagnosis, “it’s a blessing.”

Graterol didn’t get so lucky with his injury, which has limited the 25-year-old flamethrower to only one Cactus League appearance on March 2.

Since then, Graterol said he felt some tightness in his left hip — the leading hip in his high-velocity delivery — and “wasn’t able to land the way I wanted to” on the mound.

Graterol says he thinks his shoulder discomfort, which he described as minor, was a result of overcompensating for his hip in his mechanics.

“I’ve been trying to work through some of that, loosen it up,” Graterol said in Spanish. “I’m just trying to prevent something major from happening.”

Graterol said he was disappointed to miss the Korea trip, where the Dodgers will open regular-season play 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 that’s still to come,” Graterol said.

Roberts didn’t offer any other specifics about Graterol’s timeline but indicated Daniel Hudson probably will replace Graterol on the team’s Korea roster.

Hudson was previously a question to be ready for opening day, after sitting out most of the last two years because of knee injuries, but “has gotten considerably more refined” with his mechanics and command in recent outings, Roberts said.

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

After sitting out all of last season and most of 2022 because of shoulder injuries, the 35-year-old veteran was in the midst of a strong spring when he took a line drive off his side in a Cactus League game 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 didn’t 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 Monday and throw a bullpen session Wednesday. If he gets through both of those sessions feeling good, he might be on the team’s flight to Korea on Thursday.

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

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