Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin might need a lot more time than we expected

Thomas Carannante
Jun 9, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin (26) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin (26) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

It’s premature to say that Los Angeles Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin is “back” even though he made his 2021 season debut on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. There’s a long road ahead.

Gonsolin, who hit the injured list in early April and hadn’t logged a single inning through the team’s first three games, has been battling a shoulder injury while working his way back for over two months.

When he was ready to start throwing, the Dodgers worked to build him back up as a starter due to the injury to Dustin May.

Gonsolin had opened the season in the bullpen after the Trevor Bauer signing as well as the promotions of May and Urias to the starting rotation.

But all it took was one injury and the fact David Price had barely thrown over 100 innings since 2019. The veteran lefty isn’t exactly stretched out to be a starter, either, and he hit the shelf with an injury as well, which hindered him.

It was up to Gonsolin to get back up to speed, especially after his promising showing in 2020, but after his outing against the Pirates on Wednesday, it’s clear he’ll need more time.

Tony Gonsolin isn’t close to being ready to start for the Dodgers.

So it wasn’t too crazy that we had suggested Price and Gonsolin should piggyback one another upon the right-hander’s return, huh?

This is no fault to Gonsolin, nor are we criticizing him for the lackluster outing. He’s just not ready. This was just another bullpen game for the Dodgers, which is what they’ve been doing for the better part of six weeks now.

The best news about his performance was that he lasted 66 pitches. The bad news was that he only threw 50% strikes and he couldn’t get through two innings. The length and the velocity are there (he was hitting 95 MPH with his fastball), but his command and poise were not. And that’s not going to return overnight. Gonsolin’s will have to be re-acclimated to MLB action.

Building him back up in the minor leagues was only the first step. It’s not like Gonsolin is a seasoned vet who was just looking to rediscover his bearings by logging some innings at Triple-A. This is a 27-year-old with just 86.2 innings under his belt. While the results have been good (2.60 ERA and 0.92 WHIP), he’s averaged just 4.1 innings per outing for his career. That’s not exactly a “starter,” though anything above two innings would be a tremendous aid for the bullpen at the moment.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers aren’t out of the woods yet with the back end of their rotation. They’re looking at bullpen games every fifth day until Gonsolin can get comfortable out there. And we’re not sure how long that’s going to take.

facebooktwitterreddit