Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day roster appeared to have largely rounded into form over the final days leading up to the start of the 2022 regular season, but there was an unexpected development with Victor González when it came time to setting the 16 relief pitchers.
Rather than begin the season with the Dodgers, González was placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation. “There was a ‘pen about a week ago, and coming out of it he just felt a little soreness in his elbow,” manager Dave Roberts.
“So at that point in time we just wanted to be careful. So starting him on the IL and getting him back here, hopefully in two or three weeks.”
Roberts added González did not require an MRI or any other testing on his elbow because the pain subsided in ensuing days. “Arm strength is there, he feels good and we’ve got him on a program. I expect him in the next few weeks,” Roberts said.
González is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 season in which he fell behind other left-handed relief pitchers in the Dodgers bullpen. It was a surprising turn of events after he played a key role in the Dodgers winning the World Series as a rookie.
González, like Julio Urías, reported to Spring Training this year in better shape and pitched well in his four Cactus League appearances.
Still on the mend from Tommy John surgery, Caleb Ferguson also began the 2022 season on the 10-day IL. Ferguson already had been ruled out for the Opening Day roster as the Dodgers take a cautious approach and remain mindful of a likely innings limit.
Kahnle rehab assignment
The Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract in December 2020 with an understanding he likely wouldn’t pitch until this season due to Tommy John surgery.
Kahnle made just one Spring Training appearance and has since joined Single-A Rancho Cucamonga for a rehab assignment. He’s thrown one scoreless inning for the Quakes thus far.
Phil Bickford was another Roberts ruled out for the Opening Day roster more than one week before it was due to be set. The right-hander experienced arm soreness prior to camp and thus fell behind in Spring Training. Bickford was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to begin the season.
“Phil was a little bit like Brusdar (Graterol) last year. It was a later buildup, wasn’t quite ready to get going once we started camp. All pitchers need time and he just didn’t get to that point,” Roberts explained.
“That’s why we used the option. He was huge for us last year and he’s going to be huge for us this year. Until he gets ready to kind of check the boxes of the one-plus, the back-to-back and bouncing back, so that’s what we had to do.”
When will Dodgers relief pitchers return?
Roberts estimated Bickford, Ferguson, González and Kahnle would all be ready to join the team by the start of May or one week into the month.
As of May 2, teams will be required to trim down their active rosters to 26 players and only be permitted to carry 13 active pitchers.
“Rubber is going to hit the road at some point in time when all those guys are ready to go,” Roberts said.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!