An MRI showed that Dodgers reliever Tom Koehler has a mild anterior capsule strain. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Koehler was seen in a sling, later noting that the righty will be out for “an extended time”, which could be weeks or months. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register adds that no surgery has been planned at the moment, and quotes Koehler as saying it’s “not the way I’d like my tenure as a Dodger to start two weeks in.” He’d left Friday’s spring training game early after retiring just one of the four hitters he faced.
Koehler struggled to a 7.92 ERA in 12 starts with the Marlins last season, but he excelled in a relief role after being acquired by the Blue Jays in August. From that day on, the right-hander posted a 2.65 ERA while striking out 9.53 batters per nine across 17 innings with Toronto. Though team elected to non-tender him following the 2017 season, the Dodgers snatched him up on $2MM contract with some added incentives. If Koehler misses a significant portion of the season, it would prove a blow to his ability to earn additional bonuses through accumulation of total starts and relief appearances.
From the team’s perspective, the loss of Koehler for any length of time would not only thin the Dodgers’ bullpen a bit, but also detract from the team’s rotation depth. Though he struggled in a starter capacity last season, he has an extended track record pitching above-replacement in that capacity. Koehler has made 131 starts in his career while pitching to a 4.44 ERA. Though he was always unlikely to make many starts for Los Angeles, the team’s injury prone starting group would benefit from as much depth as possible.