What Happened In 2017: Only pitched 3.1 innings in four games for the Dodgers due to multiple injuries in his third year with the team.
Coming off of arthroscopic left elbow debridement surgery last off-season, left-hander Adam Liberatore began the year with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017. He only appeared in one game with the Dodgers in April before he landed on the disabled list with a groin injury. In May, he came back and pitched in three more games before a forearm strain forced him back to the DL and eventually ended his season with the big club.
At first, his forearm injury didn’t seem to be anything major.
“Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore was also examined in Los Angeles, where doctors diagnosed only inflammation in his forearm, without any structural concern for his elbow. “There was no nerve damage, no ligament damage,” Roberts said. “He’s in a good place. Just a couple weeks off, and it’ll be fine.”
But his forearm issues persisted well past a couple of weeks, and unfortunately it ended up being essentially a lost year for Liberatore. He tried to work back before September call-ups, pitching in four minor league games, but his comeback never panned out, and he was shut down for the season officially on September 8.
The 30-year-old southpaw was impressive in the first half of the 2016 season for the Dodgers, and he even set a Dodger record with 28 consecutive scoreless appearances, good for a 0.72 ERA through the end of June.
“He’s able to locate his fastball in any spot. He commands both sides of the plate as well. I think just mixing his pitches, it’s a key for anyone but he does it so well. He’s able to take advantage of hitters and expand the strike zone and that’s huge.”
Andrew Friedman‘s trade with Tampa Bay preceding the Winter Meetings in 2014 looked like it had paid dividends with the acquisition of Liberatore, but unfortunately his injuries haven’t allowed the Dodgers to use his potent arm on a reliable basis since the second half of 2016.
2018 Status: Liberatore is under contract until 2022 and will be competing for a spot in the Dodgers bullpen should he be healthy for Spring Training.