The Dodgers activated pitcher Joe Kelly from the injured list on Thursday, starting the clock on his five-game suspension for throwing at Alex Bregman on July 28 in Houston.
To make room, Walker Buehler was placed on the injured list with a blister on his right hand for the second time this season.
Kelly has missed nearly five weeks with right shoulder inflammation, having last pitched on August 8. He has been working his way back in the last week or so, throwing bullpen sessions and facing hitters in a simulated inning at Dodger Stadium. He faced hitters again on Monday, which Kelly said over the weekend would be pitched with the same intensity as a relief outing down the stretch.
“Ultimately, [Monday’s] a big deal to see where I’m at for mechanics and from a physical standpoint,” Kelly said on a conference call Sunday. “Time is obviously shorter, but for me it’s always been, if I’m healthy and I can be as close as I can to 100 percent, that usually kind of takes care of itself.”
That means the Dodgers will play one player short for the next five games, but they picked an advantageous part of their schedule to do so. The Dodgers were off Monday and are off again Friday, so the pitching staff can more easily absorb the extra burden, and with a starter going on the injured list the bullpen technically hasn’t lost a member.
Manager Dave Roberts said Thursday that Julio Urías will start on Saturday against the Astros at Dodger Stadium. Presumably, Buehler to the injured list means Tony Gonsolin would start Sunday, but Roberts said that Gonsolin would be available out of the bullpen tonight.
If Gonsolin starts Sunday, and the Dodgers stay rotation stays on regular rest with Clayton Kershaw on Monday and Dustin May on Tuesday, they will have survived playing a pitcher short during Kelly’s suspension without actually playing a pitcher short, since Kelly will be next eligible to pitch next Wednesday in San Diego against the Padres.