Heading into Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals, the injury bug has bitten the Dodgers quite harshly. Entering Opening Day, the squad was relatively healthy, but as the second full week of the regular season approaches, several key players continue to remain absent from play.
Hard-throwing reliever Brusdar Graterol was forced to begin the year on the 10-day injured list for unspecified reasons, which later turned out to be COVID-related complications. Nevertheless, the weekend has brought good news for the 265-lb. righty, who finally seems to be close to a return.
Seemingly, the “final box for Graterol to check” is being able to prove he can pitch twice in three days. Once he passes this hurdle, he’ll be prepared for major league action. Some feel he might be ready to compete within a week.
Swingman Tony Gonsolin, who was included on the Opening Day roster as a member of the relief crew, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The 26-year-old righty has been sidelined with shoulder inflammation, and according to manager Dave Roberts, “is still a ways away.” Gonsolin did not throw a regular season pitch before being placed on the IL.
Slugger Cody Bellinger was sent to the 10-day injured list this week with a leg bruise, but there is hope he could return as early as next Friday for the beginning of the Padres series on the road. Bellinger’s injured list stay can be retroactive to April 6 if needed, but there’s certainly no hurry to bring him back.
“That’s the hope, but we’re not going to push him,” Roberts said of Bellinger’s prospective return. “You know how we kind of operate. So once we get the go ahead from the training staff, I know he’s eligible to return I think on Friday. So that would be the hope, but it’s not a hard date.”
In the meantime, the team will continue to get a look at 26-year-old outfielder Luke Raley, who took Bellinger’s spot on the active roster.
Outfielder Mookie Betts remains on the active roster while dealing with a severe bout of back stiffness. Betts ran and played catch on Saturday, but he was not included in Sunday’s lineup. With Monday’s day off, Betts will have had six straight days of rest.
“The hope for me is that he’ll be back in there Tuesday,” Roberts said of Betts. “But we’re not going to put him in there unless he’s ready to go.”
Edwin Rios got the start in right field on Sunday.
Reliever Joe Kelly remains in uniform with the team, but he’s still listed on the 10-day injured list, and there’s no timetable for his return.
Kelly has been throwing since late February, but there’s no indication how far he has progressed. Furthermore, there have been no statements on the exact specifics of Kelly’s injury, although it was reported early in camp that he was dealing with some type of illness.
In the meantime, fans await a corresponding roster move after the club claimed righty pitcher Ashton Goudeau off waivers from the Giants. Goudeau was moved to the 40-man roster on Sunday, but there are 43 players currently listed there, with Caleb Ferguson and Tommy Kahnle exempt after being placed on the 60-day injured list. One would assume there might be some type of COVID provision involved with Goudeau’s inclusion.