Why Did Tony Gonsolin Pitch For The Dodgers With Elbow Injury?

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Tony Gonsolin was placed on the 15-day injured list with an official designation of right forearm inflammation, but both he and manager Dave Roberts have alluded to the issue being elbow trouble.

The decision to place Gonsolin on the IL came after he gave up 10 runs on five home runs, both of which were career worsts, in 3.1 innings to the Miami Marlins. After the game, Dodgers manager Roberts and Gonsolin indicated an IL stint would be likely because the elbow trouble had lingered four to six weeks.

“It’s something he’s been dealing with for quite some time,” Roberts said. “He’s going to get a scan sometime this week. I think for me, I’m really impressed he continued to go and wanted to take the baseball. It was symptomatic. I think all pitchers have something going on with their arm or elbows, with the mileage.

“But we were all aligned as far as it made sense for us to continue to give him the baseball. But right now we just feel where we’re at, to IL is the best course of action. Beyond that, once he gets the scan, it will be more telling.”

Gonsolin continued to pitch through the unspecified elbow injury because the Dodgers were convinced it wouldn’t risk further damage and felt he could still be effective. Gonsolin also didn’t use it as any excuse and wanted to continue taking the ball despite pitches being less effective because of the drop off in the quality of his stuff.

Furthermore, due to the state of the pitching staff prior to the start of August with multiple injuries and all-around struggles, it became more of a need to have Gonsolin continue making starts.

“I think where were were at in that point of time, and it’s been six weeks or something like that where he hasn’t felt great, and so I do commend him wholeheartedly,” Roberts said. “I think he’s continued to gain the respect of the guys in the clubhouse and never made an excuse.

“Was it pain-free? Probably not. But I know as an organization we were very clear in knowing he was not going to hurt himself worse. We’re not going to do that to the player. We were all aligned and felt good about that. So I do complement Tony.”

The elbow injury is likely to end Gonsolin’s season, according to Roberts. Thus he would finish 4.98 ERA in 103 innings, just one year removed from being among the top pitchers in the National League and first career All-Star Game selection.

“Coming off an All-Star season, you have certain expectations from the organization and the player,” Roberts said. “For it to not play out as such is disappointing. But it’s something out of your control, and in this case it’s an injury.

“But like I said, I really applaud him for not running from it and picking us up through the last six weeks when our starting staff was in flux.”

Options to replace Tony Gonsolin in Dodgers rotation

Gonsolin’s spot in the starting rotation isn’t due up until next week and thanks to the off days on Sunday and Monday, the Dodgers have some flexibility with how they replace him.

Roberts named Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone and Ryan Yarbrough as candidates to fill in for Gonsolin in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

Pepiot pitched a bulk role in the first game of the doubleheader as the 27th man. Meanwhile, Roberts acknowledged the Dodgers are slightly hesitant to move Yarbrough into the rotation because of value he brings as a swingman capable of pitching multiple times each week.

“Right now we don’t have that decision to make,” Roberts said.

Pepiot seems to be the logical choice as he was set to begin the season as the Dodgers’ fifth starter, which also came in place of an injured Gonsolin, but he dealt with an oblique and intercostal injury to begin the year.

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