LOS ANGELES — Ryan Pepiot won the fifth starter role during spring training, but he will not be starting for the Dodgers on Monday against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Instead, Pepiot is on the 15-day injured list to begin the season, with a strained left oblique.
Michael Grove, who was optioned to the minors last Friday and was scheduled to start opening night for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday, is instead on the Dodgers opening day roster.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Grove would start Monday against Colorado.
Gavin Stone will start Friday for Oklahoma City instead, says OKC play-by-play broadcaster and director of communications Alex Freedman.
Pepiot left his March 17 spring training start against the Cubs after three innings with side discomfort, but was deemed healthy enough to make two more starts. Pepiot’s oblique strain is not related to that side discomfort two weeks ago, reports Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic.
The right-hander will be shut down for a few days before determining the next step.
“I’m pretty disappointed, pretty bummed,” Pepiot said. “I’m just happy we caught it pretty early, so hopefully it doesn’t linger on too long.”
Pepiot said the oblique started bothering him in his May 22 start against the Mariners, then flared up in his Tuesday start against the Angels in Anaheim. during which the right-hander walked four and allowed five runs in 3⅔ innings.
“He went through his regular progression, had no discomfort or sensation,” Roberts said. “When warming up, he felt it during that last game. All we can do is go on is symptoms and how the player feels. If we would have known going into that start, he wouldn’t have made that start. But from all the things we had gathered, he was good to go.”
Pepiot and Grove were battling for the rotation spot vacated by Tony Gonsolin, who also opens the year on the injured list with a left ankle sprain. With Gonsolin not expected back until late April and now Pepiot sidelined by an oblique injury, the Dodgers pitching depth is thinned out. With Grove in the rotation, next in line among starters on the 40-man roster is Andre Jackson, who made the club as a long reliever.
Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller are likely next in line, with Stone well ahead of Miller in the pecking order since Miller did not pitching during spring training in an effort to curtail his innings. Stone, however, was dominant in his Cactus League outings, only pitching 6⅔ innings but not allowing a run and striking out a whopping 14 of his 27 batters faced.