The Dodgers have activated right-hander Tony Gonsolin from the 60-day injured list, per a club announcement. He’s in line to start tonight’s game against the Pirates after sitting out the entire year to date due shoulder inflammation. In a pair of corresponding moves, Los Angeles placed Yoshi Tsutsugo on the 10-day injured list due to a strained right calf and transferred lefty Scott Alexander from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL. Alexander is on the injured list due to his own bout of shoulder inflammation.
Gonsolin, 27, is one of the game’s most overqualified fifth/sixth starters. He trails Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer and Julio Urias on the team’s depth chart and may not have cracked the Opening Day rotation, had he been healthy, due to the presence of Dustin May (who has since undergone Tommy John surgery). On nearly any other club in Major League Baseball, Gonsolin would have had a more straightforward opportunity to establish himself as a rotation fixture — an opportunity he may now get in Los Angeles.
From 2019-20, Gonsolin tallied 86 2/3 innings for the Dodgers, pitching to a 2.60 ERA with a 24.5 percent strikeout rate, a 6.5 percent walk rate and a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate. He’s not an overpowering arm, sitting 94.4 mph with his heater, but he’s generated a strong 13 percent swinging-strike rate and induced chases on pitches off the plate at a 33.1 percent clip in his short MLB career to date. Only 14 of his 20 MLB appearances so far have been starts, but he’s been more effective out of the rotation than the bullpen in that short sample.
That level of depth is a clear luxury for the Dodgers, but with May out for the rest of the year — and for a portion of 2022 as well — Gonsolin may get the chance to take the ball every fifth day, assuming his own health holds up. He’s given every indication to this point that he’s more than capable of holding down a permanent rotation job at the MLB level.
Turning to today’s other moves, Tsutsugo will head to the shelf after struggling through his first 31 plate appearances since coming over in a small trade with the Rays. He’s out to a 3-for-25 start (all singles) with six walks and a dozen strikeouts in that time. The hope was likely that he could fill a similar role to Edwin Rios, who’s been lost for the season due to shoulder surgery, but to this point it hasn’t worked out.
Alexander, meanwhile, went on the injured list in early May and will now be out through at least early July as a result. (The 60-day term is retroactive to his original IL placement — not from today forth.) He’s been a solid but up-and-down member of the team’s bullpen since being acquired from the Royals four years ago, pitching to a 3.44 ERA in 107 1/3 innings dating back to 2018. He opened the 2021 season with 11 2/3 frames of 2.31 ERA ball, a 5-to-1 K/BB ratio and a whopping 63.2 percent ground-ball rate — a mark that is actually a fair bit shy of his career 70.4 percent rate.