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Dodgers place Garrett Cleavinger on injured list with right oblique strain

LHP Justin Bruihl was called up from Triple-A

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Dodgers left-hander Garrett Cleavinger was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday, the fourth reliever on the team to hit the IL this week.

Cleavinger’s injured list move is retroactive to Saturday, so technically his earliest return date is August 17. But he’s expected to miss longer than that.

“It’s oblique-ish,” manager Dave Roberts said. “How long that timing is, I really can’t even speak to, but you would imagine it would be a couple weeks.”

Cleavinger has a 3.00 ERA and 5.89 FIP in 22 games this season for the Dodgers, with 21 strikeouts and 12 walks in 18 innings. But in addition to his six earned runs allowed, Cleavinger has also allowed five unearned runs, and has lost four games in extra-innings this season, including Friday night to the Angels.

Taking Cleavinger’s spot in the bullpen is left-hander Justin Bruihl, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City for the first time. The 24-year-old has a 2.63 ERA and 3.45 FIP in 26 games this season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A, with 50 strikeouts (a 33.8-percent strikeout rate) and 10 walks in 37⅔ innings.

Bruihl was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2017, and before this season his highest level was four games in then-High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2019.

Bruihl joins an already full 40-man roster. No corresponding move was announced to make room, but it’s likely not needed since Darien Núñez was placed on the injured list Saturday with no injury designation.

Clubs are not allowed to disclose non-playing-related medical information without consent of the player, per the collective bargaining agreement. But if a player is in fact on the COVID-19 injured list — as Trea Turner was for a week before his Friday activation — that player does not count against the 40-man roster for the time being.

Aside from Cleavinger and Núñez, the other Dodgers relievers placed on the injured list this week were Jimmy Nelson and Victor Gonzalez. Nelson is out for the season, needing both Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair. He’ll have the procedure on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers planned to bring Nelson into Tuesday’s game against the Astros, but had to change plans.

“We had him up and getting ready to come in the game, and it just gave way. He felt something, and we had to shut it down,” Roberts said. “We feel very, very bad, because he’s been a big part of this.”

Instead of Nelson, the Dodgers turned to González, who allowed a two-run home run to Yordan Alvarez. Three days later, Gonzalez landed on the IL with right knee inflammation, and is expected to miss a few weeks.

“There’s been some tendinits, something in his front, right knee,” Roberts said. “That’s his land leg, which makes sense in terms of his inconsistencies.”