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.
60 games into the 2021 season, and the Dodgers doubled last season's total.
As of today's date, injuries have made 25 different players miss a total of 1,180 days on the IL, totaling over $28 million in salary to injured players.
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 third blow came just before the All-Star break when three-time NL CY Young Award winner and former MVP Clayton Kershaw went on the IL with left elbow inflammation.
Then, just before the two biggest series of the season with the first-place San Francisco Giants, both Gavin Lux (hamstring) and Mookie Betts (hip) have gone down with injuries and are out of the starting lineup.
Thankfully, reinforcements are on the way as Seager returned on Friday, July 30th, and the others mentioned are expected to return soon.
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.
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.
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 in April, 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." As of today, Knebel is currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is expected to return at some point in the middle of August.
Clayton Kershaw (Left elbow inflammation): Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and former MVP Clayton Kershaw put a scare into Dodgers Nation when he was unexpectedly placed on the injured list with left elbow inflammation before the team's game against the Miami Marlins on July 7th. Kershaw scheduled to start two days later at Dodger Stadium on July 9, and did not appear to have any issues outside of a first-inning stinger in his previous start against the Nationals. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that Kershaw felt something in his left elbow while playing catch in Miami, and the team decided to ire on the side of caution and place him on the IL. An MRI on Friday revealed and confirmed the inflammation and not much more. Kershaw is currently ramping back up and is expected to appear in a simulated game on Sunday in Arizona. He could come off the IL as soon as August 7, against the Angels.
Gavin Lux (Left hamstring strain): Lux appeared to pull his left hamstring after grounding out late in the game on Sunday, July 18 against the Colorado Rockies. As he came out of the batter's box he immediately grabbed at his left hamstring and limped down the line. He was removed from the game and underwent strength and range of motion tests that revealed the strain and put him on the IL. On Monday, Dave Roberts said the Lux's injury "was going to take some time" to heal.
Scott Alexander (Left shoulder inflammation): Alexander recorded only one out, and allowed two hits in a July 19 appearance against the rival Giants. Los Angeles would go on to lose that game 7-2, and the reliever went on the IL the following day with left shoulder inflammation. Alexander was sent to Camelback Ranch in Arizona to rehab during the team's current road trip, but on Friday manager Dave Roberts said he expects Alexander to be activated in August.
Mookie Betts (Right hip pointer): Mookie Betts came out of the All-Star Break scorching hot, but the oddity that is Coors Field put an end to that quickly. Betts was injured during the second game in Colorado legging out a double. After the game he said the hip injury had been nagging him all season. After taking the next game off, Betts appeared in the ninth inning of a five-run deficit as a pinch-hitter. He struck out looking and didn't play again until he was finally placed on the IL on July 25. Betts was spotted running the bases before the game against the Diamondbacks on Friday, and is expected to be activated on Sunday.
Dodgers Injury Updates are provided throughout the season.