The Dodgers announced tonight that an MRI on the left arm of starter Alex Wood has revealed a posterior elbow impingement, which will require four weeks of rest (Twitter link). Per their announcement, he’ll be reevaluated at that time. With a layoff of nearly a month from throwing, Wood seems like a lock to require a minor league rehab assignment before returning, so an absence of at least six weeks (through the All-Star break) seems like a reasonable floor, and the potential for him to miss more time than that certainly exists.
Wood, 25, had rounded into form after a slow start with the Dodgers to open the year. Over his past six outings, a span of 35 1/3 innings, he’d worked to a 2.80 ERA with a scintillating 50-to-8 K/BB ratio and a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate. Wood’s unorthodox delivery has led some to tab him as an injury risk in the past, though this is the first time he’s landed on the Major League disabled list with an arm injury (or with any injury, for that matter). Last season, he totaled 189 2/3 of 3.84 ERA ball between the Braves and Dodgers, who acquired him from Atlanta in the much-maligned Hector Olivera trade.
The Dodgers had already placed Wood on the disabled list and brought Julio Urias back from Triple-A prior to the MRI, and it’ll be Urias who starts in Wood’s place for tomorrow’s matchup against the Cubs. Wood joins left-handers Brett Anderson and Hyun-jin Ryu as well as right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Frankie Montas as injured rotation options on the Dodgers’ disabled list. With him on the shelf, Los Angeles will lean on Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, Mike Bolsinger and, presumably, Urias in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Other alternatives at the Triple-A level include Ross Stripling, Carlos Frias and Zach Lee.
The Dodgers’ rotation entered play today with the third-best ERA of any team in the Majors, though that mark is skewed to some extent by Kershaw’s dominance. As a collective unit they’ve posted a strong 3.41 ERA, but non-Kershaw starters have provided skipper Dave Roberts and his staff with a more pedestrian 4.14 ERA. The Dodgers clearly have a number of starters that could return from the disabled list to bolster the middle and back-end of the rotation, though given the uncertainties permeating the staff, the top-heavy nature of the rotation and the front office’s active nature, it shouldn’t come as a shock if the Dodgers are connected to potential rotation upgrades on the trade market this summer.