Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers Injury Updates: Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry On Track For Memorial Day Weekend Return

Injury updates for the Los Angeles Dodgers as of May 28, 2021.

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers
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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.

50 games into the 2021 season, and the Dodgers have already doubled last season's total.

As of today's date, injuries have made 20 players miss a total of 547 days on the IL, totaling over $14.5 million in salary to injured players.

The biggest blow of course was the announcement on April 5 that 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger was going 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.

However, Bellinger is expected to return to the Dodgers lineup on Saturday and Sunday. Super-utility player Zach McKinstry will join him on the flight to Los Angeles, but it's still uncertain which day he will be activated.

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.

Tony Gonsolin (right shoulder inflammation) – After missing out on the fifth and final spot in the Opening Day starting rotation, Gonsolin made the Opening Day roster albeit in the bullpen. However, before throwing a single pitch in the 2021 regular season, Gonsolin felt discomfort in his right shoulder and was placed on the IL retroactive to April 1. On Friday, May 28, Gonsolin made a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City and threw 3 and 2/3 innings before coming out of the game. He was also trolled by the El Paso chihuahuas mascot. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he's waiting to see how Gonsolin feels after the start, and ideally he would be able to go at least five innings before returning to the big league roster.

Cody Bellinger (Hairline fracture in left fibula bone) – As previously mentioned, Bellinger went on the IL on April 6th with a hairline fracture in his left fibula. Initially, Bellinger and the Dodgers believed he had just been spiked on his left calf and would be okay in a few days. X-rays and an MRI revealed nothing, but Bellinger continued to feel a "sharp pain" while running. A CT scan a few days later showed the hairline fracture in the fibula, and Bellinger was placed on the IL indefinitely. Bellinger went on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City last weekend and in five games he belted two homers with three RBI. On Friday, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts announced that Bellinger would be activated off the IL on Saturday and start in centerfield in the final two games against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Zach McKinstry (Right oblique strain) – Outside of Justin Turner, McKinstry has been the Dodgers best hitter to start the season. The rookie has 16 hits, five doubles, three homers, and 14 RBI in just 17 games to begin the 2021 campaign. However, on Thursday, before the four-game series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium, McKinstry experienced pain in his lower back while taking batting practice. McKinstry was scheduled to start the game, but was immediately scratched after experiencing the pain. Later tests revealed an oblique strain that will sideline McKinstry for a minimum of three weeks. Similar to Bellinger, McKinstry also played five games last week with OKC and had five hits and five runs scored. On Friday, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts announced that McKinstry would join Bellinger in Los Angeles on Saturday and could be activated either that day or Sunday.

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.

Brusdar Graterol (Right forearm) - The Bazooka went on the injured list on April 29, after experiencing right forearm tightness during an appearance against the Cincinnati Reds on April 26. Graterol was immediately shut down, but just over a month later, he's beginning to ramp back up again. Roberts announced on Friday that Graterol traveled to El Paso, Texas where he threw a live bullpen session facing Bellinger and McKinstry. The team will wait and see how he feels in the coming days before announcing a next step.

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 May 14, Roberts said that Alexander was "still 2-3 weeks away" from returning to the team.

AJ Pollock (Left hamstring strain) - Pollock suffered a grade 1 left hamstring strain on May in Anaheim, and took a few days off to rest and recover before returning to the starting lineup on May 14. However, Pollock re-aggravated the hamstring strain while running from first to third and immediately at to come out of the game. After taking two weeks off to rest the injury, Pollock was seen running the bases at Dodger Stadium on Thursday ahead of the four-game series with the rival Giants. Roberts announced that Pollock is expected to go on a rehab assignment with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga next week and could travel with the team to Atlanta next Thursday.

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 Thursday, Seager was spotted taking groundballs with one arm, throwing with one arm, and has been doing conditioning work. Roberts is hopeful that Seager will not need a rehab assignment when he's fully healthy and "can hit the ground running," although nothing has been decided yet.

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.

Jimmy Nelson (right forearm) - Nelson went on the injured list with right forearm inflammation after experiencing discomfort in a two-inning appearance on May 20 during a bullpen game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Friday, Roberts announced that Nelson is expected to throw a bullpen session this weekend.

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided throughout the season.

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