Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Victor Gonzalez emerged as an unsung hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their World Series run in 2020 but could not replicate that success this past season.
The left-hander had pitched well until left plantar fasciitis landed him on the 10-day injured list in early July. The stint came one day after Gonzalez allowed a game-winning home run to Jorge Alfaro in a 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins.
After pitching out of the bullpen in a rehab assignment with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers reinstated Gonzalez from the IL. His struggles only continued before being sidelined with right knee inflammation prior to the opener of the Freeway Series on Aug. 6.
Gonzalez returned to the the club two weeks later, and after a pair of scoreless appearances, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, with whom he remained for the rest of the season.
“Tough decision, obviously with what Victor means to us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of sending Gonzalez to Oklahoma City.
“I think the bottom line is he’s been dealing with an injury. He’s healthy from that, and getting him back off the IL, just want him to be consistent with his outing.
“Looking for consistency with the fastball and slider, hasn’t had the miss he had last year. I think for the most part, just getting him to Triple-A, take a breath for a week or two weeks, and kind of see where we’re at from there.”
Gonzalez found modest success with Oklahoma City as he went 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 12 appearances. The 26-year-old posted a 3-1 record with a 3.57 ERA, 4.27 FIP and 1.44 WHIP in 44 games with the Dodgers.
Gonzalez’s 2021 highlight
From April 2 through May 14, Gonzalez tossed scoreless outings in 15 of his first 17 appearances. He posted a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings pitched and collected 11 strikeouts against seven walks during the span.
Gonzalez remains under contract, and despite a down year in 2021, figures to compete for one of the spots in the Dodgers’ Opening Day bullpen during Spring Training.
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