LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Brandon Beachy will make his Los Angeles Dodgers debut Saturday, completing a comeback from a second Tommy John operation to his right elbow.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced Friday that Beachy will be his starting pitcher for the next day's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Beachy underwent his second elbow reconstruction surgery in March 2014.
"At times, there was no light at the end of the tunnel and some dark days in there," Beachy said. "It's something I'm really glad I've been through, and it will be something I'll always remember."
The Dodgers signed Beachy in spring training to a one-year, $2.75 million deal with a club option for 2016 in the hope he would return in time for the second half. After making five minor league rehab starts and going 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA, Beachy told general manager Farhan Zaidi he was ready to return to the major leagues.
Saturday will be Beachy's first appearance in a major league game since Aug. 20, 2013.
In a way, getting back on the mound was the easy part for Beachy. Staying in the Dodgers' rotation could prove a challenge. Of 29 major league pitchers who have undergone two Tommy John operations, 66 percent have made it back to pitch again, but only 42 percent have managed to pitch 10 games.
Most of those pitchers, including the Arizona Diamondbacks' Daniel Hudson, either started as relievers or were converted to bullpen roles. Only three pitchers --Chris Capuano, Kyle Drabek and Randy Wolf -- have started a major league game after two Tommy John operations, and only one of those, Capuano, made 10 starts subsequent to the surgery.
Asked if he can buck the odds, Beachy said, "I believe so. There's only one way to find out, right?"
The Dodgers were prepared to deplete their bullpen to get through Saturday's game, but a conversation between Beachy and Zaidi convinced them he was ready.
The Dodgers have lost two starting pitchers, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, to season-ending injuries.
"We knew physically he was ready based on what the trainers said and how he's been doing, bouncing back from everything. We just wanted to make sure he was ready to do it," Mattingly said. "We didn't want to push that. I guess he's had some conversations with Farhan and some of the guys that absolutely he's ready to go. Really, that's what we needed to hear."
Beachy, 28, was 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 starts for the Atlanta Braves between 2010 and 2013. If the Dodgers pick up his 2016 option, he would make between $3 and $6 million, depending how many starts he makes this season.