LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Saturday placed struggling pitcher Tony Gonsolin on the 15-day injured list after by far the worst two-month stretch of his career. Technically, Gonsolin was placed on the injured list with right forearm inflammation, but it’s elbow-related, the extent of which nobody on the Dodgers has been willing to reveal.
Gonsolin will have further testing this coming week to determine the severity, but manager Dave Roberts said it’s unlikely he pitches again in 2023.
“It’s something he’s been dealing with for some time,” Roberts said. “I’m really impressed he continued to want to take the baseball. It was symptomatic; I think all pitchers have something going on with their arms and elbows, with the mileage. But we were all aligned that it made sense for us to continue to give him the baseball. But right now, where we’re at, the IL is the best course of action.”
Roberts on Saturday said Gonsolin will definitely miss more than the 15-day injured list stint. Later, when asked if Gonsolin will pitch again this season, Roberts said, after a long pause, “It’s unlikely.”
Gonsolin tied ignominious Los Angeles Dodgers records on Friday night against the Marlins, allowing 10 earned runs and five home runs in 3⅓ innings.
That ballooned Gonsolin’s ERA to 4.98 and his expected ERA to 5.79, the latter in the bottom six percent of MLB. He’s allowed four or more runs in eight of his last 11 starts, with a 7.51 ERA during that span, and 15 home runs in just 56⅓ innings.
Before that stretch, Gonsolin allowed four or more runs five times in 60 career starts.
The right-hander has been battling physical issues for most of the season, which limited Gonsolin’s ability to recover between starts among other things. Talk from Gonsolin and Roberts surrounding the injury was vague, until this weekend. And even now, other than the official word of right forearm inflammation, there isn’t much clarity.
“Once he gets that scan, it will be more telling,” Roberts said.
Gonsolin was needed to fill innings in a rotation that until the trade deadline had three rookies, and the medical staff determined Gonsolin he was healthy enough to pitch.
“I commend him wholeheartedly. I think he’s continued to gain respect of guys in the clubhouse, and never made an excuse,” Roberts said. “Was he pain free? Probably not. But I know as an organization in saying and knowing that you’re not going to hurt yourself worse. We’re not going to do that to a player.”
But Gonsolin just hasn’t been good for over two months, and now Lance Lynn was acquired and Clayton Kershaw returned to the rotation.
Gonsolin avoided salary arbitration in January with a two-year contract that included a base salary in 2024 of $3.4 million. Friday was Gonsolin’s 20th start of the season, which tacked on another $500,000 to next year’s salary. Gonsolin added a total of $2 million to his 2024 salary, $500,000 for each of 14, 16, 18, and 20 starts.
The team has more options now, including Ryan Pepiot, who was called up as the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader. Pepiot is a candidate to replace Gonsolin in the rotation, Roberts said, like he did in spring training only to land on the injured list on opening day. So is Gavin Stone, who is currently in Triple-A. Ryan Yarbrough is also a starting option, though the team also likes being able to use him multiple times per week in bulk relief.
Left-hander Bryan Hudson was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He last pitched Wednesday for Oklahoma City, striking out four in two innings as an opener, allowing two runs, one earned.
This is the fourth stint in the majors for the 26-year-old left-hander, who made his major league debut on June 17 and has allowed five runs in 5⅔ innings in his three games for the Dodgers, with four strikeouts and two walks.
In Triple-A this season, Hudson has a 2.76 ERA with 75 strikeouts and 22 walks in 45⅔ innings. His 38.3-percent strikeout rate ranks fifth among Dodgers minor leaguers with at least 30 innings this year.