Dodgers manager Dave Roberts provided a host of injury updates this afternoon regarding various relief options for the club as LA hurtles toward their eleventh consecutive playoff appearance, as relayed by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. While right-hander Tony Gonsolin will not be an option for the club down the stretch this year, Roberts provided updates on a pair of relievers who could still impact the club in 2023: right-handers Joe Kelly and Yency Almonte.
Kelly threw a bullpen session recently but is still struggling with pain in his elbow, per Roberts. The veteran righty, who threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings with the Dodgers after joining the club at the trade deadline alongside Lance Lynn, went on the injured list earlier this month with elbow inflammation. According to Roberts, Kelly is expected to return in time for the postseason but there is “a chance he’s not gonna be 100%” when he does. Almonte, meanwhile, has a clearer timeline, with Roberts indicating that the 29 year old is two to three weeks from a return from his knee injury.
Most interesting for Dodgers fans will surely be Roberts’ comments on right-hander Walker Buehler, who’s aiming to return from Tommy John surgery before the 2023 season comes to a close. Buehler hasn’t started a rehab assignment, but Plunkett relays that Roberts still believes Buehler’s long-stated goal of returning to the big league mound for games in September is still on the table, with the manager indicating that the club is planning on Buehler to return to the majors toward the middle of the month. While Roberts notes that Buehler’s stuff is in good shape, his command “hasn’t been good” and is something “he’ll have to work through” on his coming rehab assignment.
Healthy returns to the mound from Kelly, Almonte, and particularly Buehler would substantially deepen the club’s bullpen ahead of the postseason. While the Dodgers have been nothing short of dominant of late with just four losses in August, the club’s bullpen is a potential weak point, ranking roughly middle-of-the-pack in the majors with a 3.83 ERA and having been leaned on for the more innings than any NL bullpen besides those in Cincinnati and San Francisco.
More injury notes from around the league…
- Star Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers underwent x-rays on his wrist after being hit by a pitch during last night’s game against LA and struck from the lineup this afternoon. Fortunately, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic relays that those x-rays came back negative, per manager Alex Cora. Cora added to reporters that Devers could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow, depending on how the slugger is feeling. That’s surely a relief for Boston, as the 26-year-old infielder is perhaps the club’s most important and consistent players. Devers is in the midst of another season right in line with his career norms; since his breakout campaign in 2019, he’s slashed .288/.351/.529 with a 19.7% strikeout rate and a 131 wRC+. In 530 trips to the plate this season, Devers has essentially replicated that line, slashing .272/.347/.516 with a 18.7% strikeout rate and a 127 wRC+.
- Tigers right-hander Matt Manning is preparing to make his next start on Wednesday after exiting his last start with lower back tightness. With that being said, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press indicated yesterday that Manning actually making his start on Wednesday is not a guarantee. Per Petzold, manager AJ Hinch told reporters that the club will “see how the next couple of days are” regarding Manning’s health before determining whether or not he’ll make his start. Petzold suggests right-hander Spencer Turnbull and left-hander Joey Wentz could be options to take the ball on Wednesday should Manning, who sports a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts with the Tigers this season, require a trip to the shelf.
- Brewers righty Adrian Houser departed today’s start against the Padres after just two innings, having allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. Milwaukee indicated that Houser’s early exit was due to what the club termed “minor forearm tightness.” As relayed by Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Houser downplayed the injury’s seriousness in conversations with reporters, indicating he expects to make his next start after taking some time off to rest. Houser’s next start would line up for Saturday against the Phillies, though with a day off on Thursday Milwaukee has the ability to give Houser additional rest without using another starter, should he need it.