The collective pulse of Dodgers Nation stopped on Saturday evening when Dustin May threw a pitch, winced in pain, and immediately removed himself from the game. As we enter the second month of the season, the Dodgers have had more than their fair share of injuries around the club, but the injury bug has bitten the pitching staff particularly hard.
Still, the season trudges on and the team will need an arm to take his spot in the rotation every fifth day. Here are the best internal options in the organization.
Options and Break Downs
The rookie right-hander just made his MLB debut as a spot starter on Friday. He tossed two innings and allowed two runs on a home run. As the Dodgers wait for some other options to get healthy, the 23-year-old can potentially eat some starts and innings for a few weeks.
Nelson was fighting for a spot in the rotation throughout spring training but ultimately found himself in the bullpen. While he’s been hardly spectacular, he’s been more than serviceable in relief for LA. But, with all the injuries that have afflicted the Dodgers early this season, he’s become an important part of the bullpen. Particularly after the loss of setup man Corey Knebel.
The club’s top pitching prospect has been knocking on the door for an opportunity with the big club over the last two seasons. Gray had a rough showing this past spring, allowing 7 runs in 5.1 innings pitched, but he was LA’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019 and has big league ready stuff.
One thing working against the right-hander is that he’s not currently on the 40-man roster. However, the club can easily place Knebel on the 60-IL (he’ll be out “months”) if Dave Roberts and the Dodgers opt for this option.
On the Mend
The World Series champion Catman was the first casualty for the Dodgers in 2021. He hit the IL with shoulder inflammation during the first series of the season in Colorado. Because Colorado is the absolute worst.
Doc’s most recent updates are promising for Gonsolin. The right-hander threw about 20 pitches off a mound on Thursday and will progress to about 35 pitches in his next outing coming as soon as Monday or Tuesday. Tony will still need to build his pitch count and face live hitters likely in a game situation, which could put him out for another three or four weeks in the best case scenario. That, of course, depends on how aggressive the organization chooses to be with the 26-year-old.
The veteran Price likely would have been in the rotation if he didn’t tell the club he was fine with pitching out of the bullpen this season. However, he’s on the injured list with a hamstring issue and could be a week or two away in his best case scenario.
The fan in me would love to see Josiah Gray make his debut because it’s great for baseball. But, knowing these Dodgers, they’re more likely to opt for the conservative, player development drive route with Jojo and have him start his season at Triple-A, not the big leagues.
One more out of the box thought on this, May’s injury could have perhaps cracked a window open to a conversation that sees Trevor Bauer get his wish and start every fourth day. Something he’s been vocal about since last season with the Reds.
With that, Edwin Uceta could likely fill some starts while Price or Gonsolin make their way back to the active roster. Notably, the team has scheduled three off days over the next two week affording them the opportunity to move some people up in the rotation.