Friday, June 24, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-to-1, their injury news is getting worse. It is amazing if the Dodgers can maintain their first-place status in the National League Western Division.
Before Friday’s game against the Braves, the Dodgers put their scheduled Saturday starter Andrew Heaney on the IL. Again, Heaney has left shoulder inflammation. He has dealt with the same injury earlier this season, and left shoulder inflammation caused Heaney to miss the first three months of the season.
Last Sunday, after not pitching in the Major Leagues since April, Heaney made a start against the Cleveland Guardians and went five innings and allowed an earned run. The Dodgers thought Heaney was back, but Thursday, during a bullpen session, he felt pain in his troublesome left shoulder. The Dodgers do not know when or if Heaney can return to the Dodger starting rotation.
Saturday, Mitch White will make the start. The last time White pitched in the Major Leagues, he faced the struggling Chicago White Sox and pitched five scoreless innings. The Braves are a much better team than the White Sox. The Dodgers hope White will perform well against the Braves.
The Dodger starting rotation already is in trouble before Heaney returned to the IL. It is already without Walker Buehler after having a bone chip removed from his elbow and suffering a flexor strain until September. Although Tony Gonsolin is having a career year, he already has pitched a career-high in innings. To avoid an arm injury and to preserve his effectiveness, the Dodgers must find a time to rest Gonsolin.
Coming off an amazing 2021 season when he established a career-high in innings, Julio Urías needs a rest before the playoffs begin. In June, Urías has been magnificent. The Dodgers or he wants to wear out in the late stages of the season as he did during the 2021 season.
At this stage in his career, Clayton Kershaw is fragile. He already missed a month with an inflamed SI joint. As the Dodgers know, manager Dave Roberts must manage Kershaw’s workload to avoid injury to their prized lefthander. Kershaw has a long history of back injuries, and in 2021, he suffered a forearm strain. The Dodgers must have Kershaw during the postseason to hope of being world champions.
Tyler Anderson is the wild card in the Dodger starting rotation. He has been fantastic and durable as a Dodger. While with the Colorado Rockies, Anderson had chronic knee problems. The Dodgers hope Anderson will continue to be durable.
Before the season began, the Dodgers believed Ryan Pepoit, Andre Jackson, and Bobby Miller would give them much-needed depth. After making three Major-League starts, Pepoit has struggled at Triple-A in Oklahoma City with his control. Jackson’s 6.34 ERA at Oklahoma City does not warrant a promotion. Miller is still in Double-A with a 4.50 ERA, which does not say, “I am ready for the Major Leagues.” Michael Grove is the brightest pitching rookie who has appeared for the Dodgers, but Grove’s ERA of 4.01 at Oklahoma City does not mean he is ready for the Dodgers.
The Dodger bullpen has suffered many injuries. During spring training, the Dodgers thought Blake Treinen would be their fantastic setup man. Since April, Treinen has battled right shoulder inflammation. The Dodgers expect Treinen to return after the All-Star break.
The Dodgers expected Tommy Kahnle and Caleb Ferguson to play crucial roles in their bullpen, but they have suffered setbacks. Kahnle has a bone bruise in his elbow, and no one knows when he can return to the Dodger bullpen. Ferguson has forearm tendonitis, and there is no timetable for his return.
Friday the Dodger bullpen received a massive hit. In Treinen’s absence, Daniel Hudson has performed outstandingly as the Dodger reliable setup man with a 2.22 ERA in 25 appearances. While attempting to field a comebacker, Hudson suffered an injury to his ACL. Without imaging, the Dodgers do not know how bad the injury is, but with all the indications, Hudson has a torn ACL meaning that he is lost for the rest of the season. During his Major-League career, Hudson has overcome two Tommy John surgeries. Undoubtedly, the Major Leagues will see Hudson again if he wants to return at 36.
Other than the pitching staff, the Dodgers have suffered injuries. Now, Mookie Betts has a fractured rib, but everyone believes Betts will return to the lineup in early July. Edwin Ríos was the Dodger left-handed power hitter who could be their DH. However, he suffered a hamstring pull, the muscle came off the bone, but the Dodgers believe Ríos will return to their active roster. The hometown Dodger Kevin Pillar ended his season with a fractured shoulder.
Injuries are always a part of baseball, but the Dodgers have suffered more than their share. If the Dodgers can maintain their first-place status despite their injuries, it needs to be a tribute to Roberts’ leadership and the heart of their players. At the trading deadline, the Dodgers should be active on the market pursuing pitchers, both starters and relievers.
Friday, June 24, 2022