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2022 Dodgers in review: Victor González

Elbow surgery in May derailed his season

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was a lost season for Dodgers left-hander Victor González, who had elbow surgery in April and ran out of time to be able to contribute on the field in 2022.

González began the season on the injured list with left elbow inflammation, one of six pitchers to open the year on the sidelines. Half of that group — González, Danny Duffy, Jimmy Nelson — spent the entire season on the IL.

After showing no progress and not seeing any game action in April, González underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in May. At the time there wasn’t much of a timetable set for González to return, other than that the team was hopeful he’d be able to pitch at some point during the season.

González started a minor league rehab assignment on August 16 in the Arizona Complex League, then after one game at Camelback Ranch he shifted things to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The left-hander was pitching regularly, roughly once every three or four games, including one set of back-to-back appearances on September 7-8.

Rehab assignments for pitchers are allowed to last 30 days for pitchers, and González was within days of reaching that limit. That would have necessitated the Dodgers needing to activate him off the 60-day injured list and then make a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster. But instead, González’s rehab assignment was paused after a setback.

González went eight days between rehab games before starting things back up with Oklahoma City, pitching four more games in Triple-A — one every other day — to close out the season.

González joined the Dodgers during workouts in advance for the National League Division Series, and pitched in a few simulated game situations during the team’s five days off between the regular season and playoffs. The left-hander was sitting 93-94 mph on the radar gun during the one appearance I saw.

González was among the group of Dodgers who stayed ready at Camelback Ranch during the NLDS, in case they might have been needed in later rounds. Dave Roberts said of González before Game 3, “If we are fortunate enough to move on, he’ll be in the conversation for the next round.”

There’s a long way to go from being in the conversation to being on the roster, but the Dodgers at least did prepare for the possibility of adding someone if they needed. On the final day of the regular season, shortstop Jake Amaya was called up to be placed on the 60-day IL while collecting his one day of major league service time (and pay, roughly $3,846) to make 40-man roster room for pitcher Beau Burrows, who had a 7.18 ERA in Triple-A.

The working theory was that Burrows would be someone to designated for assignment should the Dodgers need to make space to add someone off the 60-day injured list — like González or maybe outfielder Kevin Pillar — to a playoff roster. Some fuel for that fire came on October 21, when the Dodgers placed Burrows on waivers anyway.

But all that planning became moot when the Dodgers were eliminated in four games by San Diego.

González didn’t pitch in the majors in 2022, but he did earn a full year of major league service time, which is something, at least.

2022 particulars

Age: 26

Stats: did not pitch in majors; 3.09 ERA, 12 G, 11⅔ IP, 10 K, 5 BB in Triple-A

Salary: $720,000

Game of the year

With no major league action to speak of, we’ll turn to Triple-A, when González pitched a perfect sixth inning with two strikeouts for Oklahoma City on September 22 against El Paso. That was the first of three straight hitless, scoreless appearances facing the minimum number of batters for González to close out the season, tossing three innings with four strikeouts and one walk during that time.

Roster status

González has two years, 103 days of major league service time, and one option year remaining, having used options in 2020 and 2021.