Dodgers top prospect Josiah Gray will be shut down for at least a week with a shoulder impingement, after getting scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gray was warming up in the outfield as late as 15 minutes before the scheduled game time in Round Rock on Tuesday, per Alex Freedman on the Oklahoma City broadcast. Gray felt discomfort in his right shoulder, and was scratched, with Ryan Moseley getting the emergency fill-in start.
“I think we’re going to shut him down for a week to 10 days, not pick up a baseball, then we’ll kind of see where he’s at at that point,” manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday. “I’m just happy that we and Josiah detected it earlier, and didn’t try to push it.
Gray was the opening day starter for Oklahoma City, and struck out 10 in five innings pitched in his Triple-A debut on May 6. Gray, who spent 2020 at the alternate training site at USC, was the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year in 2019.
Entering this season, Gray was a consensus top-70 prospect in MLB, rated the Dodgers’ best prospect by Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, FanGraphs, and The Athletic, and ranked second to catcher Keibert Ruiz at Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
“It would be hard to say [prospect rankings] don’t strike my interest from time to time, but I truly try not to pay any attention to it,” Gray said on May 4. “Those things, I try not to get too caught up over. You can be number one in all of baseball, but if you’re not going out there every night and putting up the numbers and helping your team win, then that stuff doesn’t mean so much.”
Left field roulette lands on Matt Beaty for Wednesday’s series finale against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn, with AJ Pollock out of the lineup for a fourth straight game with a mild left hamstring strain.
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“I think we’re being pretty cautious. I feel comfortable out there. It’s just a matter of managing it early here,” Pollock said Wednesday. “It feels really good though, so hopefully we’ll get to turn this loose pretty soon.”
Pretty soon likely means Friday, which coupled with Thursday’s off day would mean Pollock got six days off while only missing most of four games. He was used as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning on Tuesday, but was immediately removed for a pinch runner after walking.
Pollock could be available for more than just pinch-hitting duty in the series finale against the Mariners, but given how these things play out, especially with an off day pending, I wouldn’t bet on it.
“As far as availability tonight: pinch hit, play defense, whatever we need. And if we stay away from him, that’s fine,” Roberts said. “And hope to get him in the starting lineup on Friday.”
Roberts said the Dodgers have reached the 85-percent vaccination threshold of all Tier 1 individuals — players, coaches, trainers, team personnel with direct access to players — which brings relaxed health and safety protocols in the dugout, clubhouse, and on road trips. As of last Friday, there were at least 12 MLB teams over the 85-percent threshold for either full vaccination or within two weeks after their final dose.
As of now, Walker Buehler is penciled in to start Sunday afternoon against the Marlins, but that’s not set in stone. The Dodgers may opt to slot in a planned bullpen game on Sunday to give Buehler an extra day of rest. He’s been perfectly fine in his career on regular, four-day rest, with a 2.73 ERA, but only 13 of his 68 regular season starts have been on four days rest, including just one of 15 since the start of 2020.
Should the bullpen game — necessitated with Dustin May being out for the season and Tony Gonsolin not yet stretched out to be activated from the injured list — be used on Monday or Tuesday, the Dodgers have no plans to activate David Price by then. He’s slated to next pitch to hitters on Friday.
“I think that would be too soon. ... If all things go perfectly, Monday or Tuesday would probably be the soonest [Price could return],” Roberts said. “But I don’t want to push David for activation. I want him to be 100 percent.”