Dodgers News: Tony Gonsolin Eyeing ‘Fresh Start’ With Tommy John Surgery

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Clarity arrived for Tony Gonsolin this week when the Los Angeles Dodgers announced he would undergo Tommy John surgery. Gonsolin had already been ruled out from returning this season, but the operation likely means he will miss all of 2024 as well.

“I’m honestly looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to a fresh start,” Gonsolin said. “I get to start over from the beginning and use this as an opportunity to get the rest of my body in a really good spot and overall get my arm in the best shape it can be in.”

Coming off a first career All-Star season, Gonsolin had been pitching with uncharacteristic qualities for most of the year, including a deep drop in fastball velocity. At times his four-seam dipped down to around 91 mph, well off from career averages.

The 29-year-old dealt with lingering elbow pain for six weeks, and his 4.98 ERA through 20 starts was a far cry from the 2.14 ERA he posted last season.

Having a starter pitch through injury is uncommon, and although early season scans revealed some warning signs, Gonsolin said he felt healthy enough to remain on the mound.

“We got some imaging done in June, so I knew the damage that was in there at that time,” Gonsolin revealed. “I kind of just pitched out of necessity. I think Kersh was down at the time, Julio (Urías) was down at the time, we had Bobby (Miller), and (Emmet) Sheehan got called up from Double-A. So I felt like I was just pitching out of necessity. I thought I could do it.

“I thought I had the capability to do it, but it just got to the point where the stuff really wasn’t performing. I went through a lot of tough outings to get to that realization, but overall I kind of knew surgery was the end goal. I was just hoping to make it through the season with good numbers and post.”

Prior to the MRI in June, Gonsolin didn’t indicate any severe issues, he just didn’t look as sharp and wasn’t pitching with as much conviction as he had in previous years.

“It really might have been one or two outings, maybe. But it felt more like normal soreness,” said Gonsolin. “For whatever reason, after the White Sox start, which I threw pretty well in, we got imaging the day after and that was when we figured everything out.

“But it felt pretty good. Even after that it felt OK and like I was able to pitch, just managing the soreness in between. The stuff went down and my command was not where it needed to be.”

Because of the uncertainty in the Dodgers starting rotation, he continued to pitch with the inherent risk of what now is a long recovery. Gonsolin will join fellow starters Walker Buehler and Dustin May as those who recently underwent Tommy John.

“I talked to Dustin a little bit,” Gonsolin said. “I’ve talked to a lot of guys here that have had it in the past. Ferg has actually been a big one because he’s had two. Just heard to stay with the process and take it day by day without looking too far ahead.”

Tony Gonsolin wasn’t motivated by contract incentives

Gonsolin signed a two-year, $6.65 million contract extension in January to avoid arbitration, with the deal also including various incentives.

He reached those, including 20 starts, to add an additional $2 million in salary for 2024. The Dodgers now will pay $5.4 million to Gonsolin next season.

However, he said the decision to continue pitching with a torn UCL did not stem from wanting to reach more performance bonuses. Gonsolin nevertheless added an additional $500,000 to his 2024 salary by making a 20th start this season.

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