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Corey Knebel on injured list, out ‘a few months’ with lat injury

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Dennis Santana goes on COVID-19-related IL, Matt Beaty and Garrett Cleavinger recalled

San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 during a baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The Dodgers on Saturday placed reliever Corey Knebel on the injured list with a lat injury, one day after he had to leave the game after facing only one batter. The right-hander is expected to miss much more than just 10 days.

“It’s going to be a few months,” manager Dave Roberts said Saturday. “Our hope, our expectation is him pitching again for us this year.”

On the final pitch of a walk to Wil Myers in the ninth inning Friday, Knebel winced, and after meeting with Roberts and a team trainer on the mound, was removed from the game. Roberts said after the game that Knebel felt “an uncomfortable sensation” in his upper tricep. Further testing showed an injury to his lat.

No surgery is planned, though a lengthy rehab process will keep Knebel out for an extended time.

“I talked to him earlier today, and he was as good as you can expect,” Roberts said.

Knebel was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017-18, posting a 2.54 ERA and 2.74 FIP in 133 games, with a 40.2-percent strikeout rate. But Tommy John surgery wiped out his 2019 and he only pitched in 15 games in 2020, posting a 6.08 ERA.

The Dodgers acquired Knebel from the Brewers at the December 2 tender deadline.

This season, Knebel has a 37.5-percent K rate, striking out nine of his 24 batters faced. He looked very much like his old self in the early going, not allowing a run or hit in his first seven appearances. That changed on April 16, giving up two runs and three hits in San Diego. Knebel’s appearance on Friday was his first since then, and was cut short after one batter.

“I didn’t even want to go to the mound and see what was wrong,” said catcher Austin Barnes. “Trainers were going out there and I was like, ‘Oh, man,’ because he’s such a great guy, he’s throwing the ball so well, and I love having him in the clubhouse.”

Roberts called this a silver lining that Knebel didn’t re-injure his elbow, though the severity of the lat injury has not yet been disclosed.

“What I’ve heard is the expectation that he will be back with us at some point this year,” Roberts said.

In addition to Knebel being sidelined, Dennis Santana isn’t feeling well after his vaccination shot, and will be placed on the COVID-related injured list, which doesn’t carry the requirement of missing 10 days.

Left-hander Garrett Cleavinger was called up to the bullpen, and corner man Matt Beaty was recalled, giving the Dodgers an even split of 13 pitchers and 13 position players on the active roster.

Injury updates

  • Gavin Lux, sidelined with right wrist soreness, is still on track to be activated from the injured list Monday, his first day eligible. “He’s going to take some at-bats [in Arizona] today, and the plan is either take some tomorrow — unless he feels good — then make his way here,” Roberts said. “If all goes well, I expect him in the lineup Monday.”
  • Zach McKinstry, on the injured list with a strained oblique, is expected to be out longer than 10 days.
  • Tony Gonsolin, battling shoulder inflammation, has thrown long toss up to 180 feet in Arizona, but hasn’t yet pitched from a mound.
  • Still no definitive timetable on Joe Kelly’s return, but Roberts said the right-hander could be back in early to mid-May.