The Dodgers announced that they have placed right-hander Tony Gonsolin on the 15-day injured list with right forearm inflammation, recalling left-hander Bryan Hudson in the corresponding move. Right-hander Ryan Pepiot is up as the club’s “27th man” for today’s double-header. Manager Dave Roberts says that it’s unlikely Gonsolin will return this season, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
The move to the IL doesn’t come as a total shock, as that seemed to be the plan after yesterday’s game, as Ardaya laid out. But the exact nature of Gonsolin’s injury wasn’t exactly clear. His velocity is clearly down, with his fastball averaging 92.4 mph this year, the lowest of his career. The results have also been poor, with his 4.98 earned run average more than double last year’s 2.14 mark. But the club didn’t provided any specific diagnosis, only saying that the issue is related to his elbow. Now he’s not only going on the injured list but it seems his season is likely to be done.
More information on the injury will likely be forthcoming, but it seems like 2023 is destined to go down as a disappointing follow-up to his 2022 breakout. Last year, he threw 130 1/3 innings over 24 starts. As mentioned, he allowed just 2.14 earned runs per nine innings, striking out 23.9% of opponents while walking just 7% and keeping the ball on the ground at a 43.1% clip.
Here in 2023, he began the season on the injured list thanks to a sprained ankle, getting activated in late April. In addition to his ERA jumping to 4.98, all of his rate stats have gone in the wrong direction. He’s striking out just 18.9% of batters faced while issuing walks at a 9.2% clip and getting grounders on 36% of balls in play. The club seemingly tried to get him to pitch through this ailment but last night’s start appears to have been a proverbial coffin nail, with Gonsolin allowing 10 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Marlins.
Regardless of the specifics, this is the latest in a series of injuries to the Dodger rotation this year. Dustin May was able to make nine starts this year before requiring flexor tendon surgery that will keep him out until next summer. Michael Grove is currently on the injured list due to lat tightness. Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías each spent time on the IL earlier this year, but both are back now.
Kershaw and Urías are joined in the rotation by rookie Bobby Miller and deadline acquisition Lance Lynn. The departure of Gonsolin will require the club to find a fifth starter at some point. Pepiot, who himself missed the first few months of the season due to an oblique strain, seems to be the likeliest option. Roberts told reporters, including Ardaya, that Pepiot could stick around after joining the club today for their hurricane-induced double-header. Ryan Yarbrough and Gavin Stone are also possibilities.
The Dodgers are still in excellent shape for the year, currently sporting a record of 74-47. That’s the second-best mark in the National League and gives them a lead of 10.5 games in the West. But they were hoping to have more rotation depth than this for the playoffs. In addition to getting Lynn at the deadline, they also lined up a deal to get Eduardo Rodriguez from the Tigers, though he blocked that trade via his no-trade clause. The loss of Gonsolin will further thin out an area that the Dodgers were hoping to bolster as recently as three weeks ago.
One big reinforcement could still be coming in the form of Walker Buehler, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year but is still hoping to return as a starter this year. Time will tell whether that’s realistic or not, but the Dodgers will move forward for now with Pepiot seemingly stepping into the mix. He posted a 3.47 ERA in 36 1/3 innings last year, his debut season. However, he had a 16.9% walk rate in that time and was likely helped out by a .244 batting average on balls in play and 86.1% strand rate. After missing the start of this year with that oblique issue, he’s since made six Triple-A starts with a 3.97 ERA.