When Trayce Thompson went down with an oblique injury in the middle of the Dodgers-Yankees series in Los Angeles, most fans were aware he'd be out longer than 15 days after hitting the injured list shorty after.
But most probably didn't expect him to immediately be ruled out for two months, which was the case when the Dodgers transferred Thompson to the 60-day IL this past Sunday ahead of their series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The move allowed the Dodgers to clear space for reliever Adam Kolarek. Outfielder and prospect Jonny DeLuca had been previously promoted when Thompson was first sent to the IL.
Manager Dave Roberts initially hoped Thompson would only miss a month, but then revealed this weekend that the severity of the oblique injury was a "Grade 2 or Grade 3," prompting the Dodgers to make the decision after they were more sure of his fate.
Still, though, there aren't any concrete specifics. Roberts being unable to relay the grade of the strain with confidence is bizarre, because a Grade 2 strain is "moderate," which typically carries a six-week recovery, while a Grade 3 strain is "severe" and suggests there's a muscle rupture.
Will Dodgers see Trayce Thompson again in 2023 after IL transfer?
Roberts said the injury wasn't season-threatening, meaning it's likely a Grade 2 strain. If that's a six-week recovery at minimum, you'd probably have to factor in another 2-3 weeks for buildup and rehab assignments. So the 60-day designation makes sense.
If it's teetering on a Grade 3 strain, though, might we not see Thompson again? And honestly, if he's out until August 3 at the minimum, is there any reason for the Dodgers to welcome him back into the fold after how badly he struggled through the first two months of the season?
If not for his two biggest games of the season, Thompson's .155/.310/.366 slash line (with an 82 OPS+) would've been significantly worse. He failed to find consistency at any point. He hit three homers and drove in eight runs in his season debut on April 1 and then went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer against the Rays. On the season, he has 11 hits, 5 homers and 14 RBI -- six of those hits, four of those homers and 10 of those RBI came in two games, meaning he had five hits, one homer and four RBI in his other 34 games.
On top of that, his struggles against lefties have seemingly gotten worse. So how does anybody in the Dodgers organization think this might get better after he's been laid up for at least two months with an oblique injury that will undoubtedly affect his swing?
With the state of the pitching staff, LA can't afford a black hole in the lineup, especially after the trade deadline when other contenders are working on fortifying their roster. It's not a foregone conclusion this is the last fans see of Thompson, but if it is, just remember reading about it as early as mid-June.