How does Tony Gonsolin's ankle injury upend Dodgers starting rotation?
Los Angeles Dodgers fans were hoping the injury woes would end with Gavin Lux, who was lost for all of 2023 with a torn ACL, but the unsettling news continued on Monday afternoon when starter Tony Gonsolin was diagnosed with an ankle sprain after injuring himself during team drills.
Right now, the right-hander is day-to-day and the Dodgers don't seem to be worried about his status for Opening Day, but he was scratched from his Wednesday start, as he's been shut down for the moment.
The good news is that after dealing with forearm issues down the stretch in 2022, Gonsolin has been built up to the point where he's ready to start games when the new season begins. The bad news is that sprained ankles are unpredictable and can be nagging. We're just over three weeks away from Opening Day, and anything that takes Gonsolin off course will play some sort of role in affecting his readiness/availability.
On top of that, the team can't be so sure the ankle sprain will subside on their estimated timetable. That's Gonsolin's lead ankle, the one he's putting all his weight on as he follows through in his delivery.
So in planning for a worst-case scenario, what might the Dodgers' rotation/pitching staff look like if Gonsolin isn't ready for the start of the campaign?
Tony Gonsolin Injury: How does it affect Dodgers pitching staff?
Gonsolin was probably expected to be the team's No. 3 starter after the success he had in 2022. Taking him out of the mix, though, here's what the rotation will probably look like:
- Julio Urías
- Clayton Kershaw
- Noah Syndergaard
- Dustin May
- Ryan Pepiot
With so many bullpen injuries affecting (or potentially affecting) the Opening Day statuses of guys like Daniel Hudson, Alex Reyes, Jimmy Nelson and Victor Gonzalez, this would create a vacancy in the bullpen, too. We can safely pencil in Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson and Yency Almonte, with Shelby Miller and Phil Bickford as likely possibilities but with a lot to prove.
Does this mean guys like Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, Tayler Scott and/or Matt Andriese could have a shot?
Perhaps Grove/Stone might be next in line, because the Dodgers always like to keep that sixth starter option as the first to potentially come out of the bullpen in the event of a starter being pulled early/an injury. Fans would surely love to see Stone because of his rapid rise and impressive spring debut, but Grove is probably the safe option, since he's already been here and is looking to build on his seven MLB appearances last season.
Consider this your potential cheat sheet in the event the Dodgers get hit with more bad news and have to weather the storm early on.