The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course.
The reigning World Series champions had a total of 10 players on the injured list during the shortened 60-game season in 2020. In total, those 10 players spent a combined 248 days on the injured list.
Over 60 games into the 2021 season, and the Dodgers have already doubled last season's total.
As of today's date, injuries have made 21 players miss a total of 696 days on the IL, totaling over $17 million in salary to injured players.
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The first blow came on April 5th, when 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger went on the IL with a hairline fracture to his left fibula. Bellinger suffered the injury while trying to beat out an infield single in a 10-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics just five games into the season.
Another devastating injury came when reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager was hit by a pitch and fractured a finger in his right hand on May 15. The shortstop is expected to miss between four and six weeks before he can return.
After Bellinger and super-utility player Zach McKinstry returned, it appeared as if the Dodgers were finally getting back to full strength. However, on Friday June 11 against the Texas Rangers, both Bellinger and Max Muncy left the game with injuries.
Bellinger is considered day-to-day with a hamstring strain, but Muncy was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and was placed on the IL on Saturday. Muncy was easily an All-Star candidate and led the team in home runs with 14 and all of MLB in walks with 46. With both lefty sluggers Muncy and Seager both out of the lineup, the Dodgers are certainly in need of some slug from that side of the plate.
Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:
Caleb Ferguson (Tommy John Surgery) – Ferguson felt something in his left elbow on September 15, 2020 against the San Diego Padres. After striking out the first batter he saw, Ferguson knew something was wrong and immediately gestured to the training staff to come out of the dugout. An MRI a day later revealed "a pretty good tear" of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery. "I feel terrible," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said at the time. Ferguson underwent the surgery in Los Angeles a week later and is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John Surgery) – Kahnle only pitched one game with the New York Yankees in 2020 before feeling significant discomfort in his right throwing elbow. An MRI revealed a tear in his UCL, and Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on August 4th. The Yankees outrighted Kahnle in October and he opted for free agency where he signed a two-year contract with the Dodgers. Los Angeles offered the deal with the understanding that Kahnle would be recovering for the entirety of the first year of the contract. Kahnle is expected to miss the 2021 season but be ready in time for spring training of 2022.
Brock Stewart (Tommy John Surgery) - Stewart returned to the team that drafted him in the offseason and was viewed as a minor league pitcher that could provide depth when called upon. However, Stewart entered spring training with elbow issues and could never get back to 100%. Stewart finally went in for some imaging and saw an issue with his UCL. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 13 and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Corey Knebel (Right lat muscle) – Knebel's injury might be the most significant and impactful of all for the Boys in Blue. After a resurgence to start the season, Knebel appeared to have recaptured his All-Star form from the 2017 season when he was the closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. Early in the 2021 season, Dave Roberts showed tremendous trust in Knebel, inserting him into high-leverage situations, including two converted save opportunities. However, after appearing in another pressure-packed situation against the San Diego Padres on Friday, Knebel threw a ball-four breaking ball into the dirt that bounced feet in front of the plate. He immediately grimaced in pain and pointed to his right triceps muscle. Later tests would reveal it was a lat injury, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Saturday that he was placed on the IL and would miss "several months." Roberts finished by saying he believes Knebel will not need surgery and will return to pitch for the team this season. Knebel was moved to the 60-day IL on May 2.
Edwin Rios (Right shoulder surgery) - Rios struggled to start the season going 4-for-54 with a 0.78 batting average. Rios told reporters that he felt discomfort in the shoulder throughout the 2021 campaign, but when it wasn't getting better despite around-the-clock treatment, they had imaging tests done that revealed a torn labrum. The doctor recommendation was surgery to repair the tear and it was scheduled for Thursday, May 19 in Los Angeles. Rios will miss the entirety of the 2021 season, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) - May experienced a shooting pain in his right elbow during a start on May 2 against the Milwaukee Brewers. May immediately left the game and underwent tests a couple days later in Chicago. Imaging revealed a torn UCL in his right elbow, and Tommy John surgery was recommended. May underwent Tommy John surgery on May 12 and will be out for the remainder of the season and into the 2022 season.
Scott Alexander (Left shoulder inflammation) - After a few days of dealing with left shoulder inflammation, the Dodgers finally sent Alexander to the IL on May 6, retroactive to May 3. Joe Kelly came off the IL in a corresponding move. On June 9, after more than a month on the IL, Alexander was moved to the 60-day IL and cannot return until Friday, July 2nd at the earliest.
Corey Seager (Fractured finger in right hand) - Seager was hit by a 94MPH sinker from Ross Detwiler and immediately went to the ground writing in pain. Seager tried to walk to first base, but keeled over again and came out of the game. X-rays later that night revealed a fracture in the 5th metacarpal bone on his right hand. It’s the long bone on the base of the pinky finger located just above the trapezium. It was a non-displaced fracture, and will not require surgery. Seager will remain in a cast until the fracture heals and is expected to miss between four and six weeks. On Friday before the game, Seager was seen on the diamond throwing and fielding ground balls. Roberts said that Seager has even begun to take two-handed swings with a tennis ball. We expect it to be at least two more weeks before Seager is able to go on a rehab assignment.
Garrett Cleavinger (left forearm inflammation) - Cleavinger was placed on the injured list on Tuesday (retroactive to 5/17) with left forearm tightness. His timetable is unknown, but the injury is not considered to be serious. He's eligible to come off the IL on Saturday.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (right calf injury) - Tsutsugo went on the IL on Wednesday with a calf injury. Dave Roberts said the injury had been bothering Tsutsugo for weeks, and could allow the Japanese utility player time to do a rehab assignment while also getting more at-bats to find his speed and rhythm at the plate. Tsutsugo's IL move corresponded with RHP Tony Gonsolin coming off the IL and starting on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
Max Muncy (right oblique strain) - Muncy felt some discomfort in his right side after hitting a home run in the first inning of Friday's 12-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. After the game Muncy was listed as day-to-day with a side injury, but testing revealed a strained oblique on Saturday afternoon and Muncy was placed on the IL. OF Luke Raley was recalled from Triple-A OKC in his place.
Dodgers Injury Updates are provided throughout the season.