Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin suffered a left ankle sprain during a pitcher-fielding practice on Monday. The club has downplayed the injury’s longer-term severity, but manager Dave Roberts indicated this evening the right-hander wasn’t in great position for Opening Day (via Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic and Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times).
On a positive note, Roberts noted that x-rays have come back negative. However, Gonsolin’s ankle is still swollen and the manager said he “doesn’t feel good” about the All-Star hurler being ready for the start of the season. Gonsolin isn’t expected to throw again for several days, and Harris notes that it’s not out of the question he could eventually go for an MRI.
Gonsolin has spent some time on the injured list in each of the past two seasons. He has battled shoulder and forearm concerns. The ankle issue is obviously less worrisome than arm issues, although it could keep him out of action early in the year. Gonsolin has never topped 24 MLB starts in a season, with last year’s 130 1/3 innings representing a career best.
The St. Mary’s product had an excellent year on a rate basis, however. He posted a 2.14 ERA, striking out an above-average 23.9% of opposing hitters while walking only 7% of opponents. Gonsolin picked up swinging strikes on a strong 12.3% of his offerings and did a solid job avoiding hard contact.
If he’s forced to start the season on the injured list, the Dodgers will have to find a short-term rotation replacement, as they’re scheduled for just one off day within the schedule’s first two weeks. Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and Dustin May look to be established in the top four spots. Right-handers Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson are all on the 40-man roster. Pepiot would seem to have the upper hand among that group if L.A. needed a couple starts in Gonsolin’s stead early in the year.