Dodgers News: Tony Gonsolin Attempted To Focus On Being ‘Relaxed’ Ahead Of First MLB Relief Appearance

With Ross Stripling unable to make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies because of a stiff neck that cut last week’s outing short and led to right biceps tendinitis, the Los Angeles Dodgers used the roster spot to rotate pitchers.

Jaime Schutlz was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City last week when Stripling was placed on the 10-day injured list. He then was optioned on Monday in a corresponding move to the Dodgers recalling Josh Sborz, who then was replaced by Tony Gonsolin before the second game of the series at Coors Field.

Reports of Gonsolin’s pending call-up surfaced Sunday, which fueled speculation he would start in place of Stripling. However, that instead went to Julio Urias in what essentially was a bullpen game for the Dodgers.

Urias only managed to complete 2.2 innings, and he was replaced by Casey Sadler because of a high pitch count. Sadler logged 2.1 innings before handing the ball over to Gonsolin for his first career MLB relief appearance.

Gonsolin had some idea of the circumstances under which he would enter the game but otherwise attempted to remain calm amid some uncertainty, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I tried to be as relaxed as possible out there. I figured I would get a clean inning, start fresh. I just kind of tried to stay ready once Julio was getting higher in pitch count.”

Tuesday was just Gonsolin’s second game with the Dodgers, and his first MLB relief appearance. Including the Minors, the right-hander last pitched out of the bullpen in 2017, when he made a combined 42 appearances (39 with High-A Rancho Cucamonga; three for Low-A Great Lakes).

If Gonsolin fought any nerves over the temporary role change and pitching in another hitter-friendly park, he certainly didn’t demonstrate it on the mound. His fastball sat in the mid-90s and was accompanied by an effective splitter and off-speed pitches.

Gonsolin retired the first 11 batters faced before allowing a two-out single to Raimel Tapia with two outs in the ninth inning. That was followed by another base hit and run-scoring double. Gonsolin’s four inning save was the Dodgers’ first since Kenta Maeda in 2017.

He’s the first Dodgers rookie to accomplish the feat since Matt Herges in 2000, which coincidentally also came at Coors Field.

Although Gonsolin impressed in a second stint with the Dodgers, his stay again was brief. The club reinstated Dylan Floro from the 10-day injured list before the series finale against the Rockies and optioned Gonsolin to Oklahoma City..