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 31 different players miss a combined total of 1,805 days on the IL, totaling over $40 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.
After missing three months, Kershaw returned on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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.
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 and remains there to this day. He was moved to the 60-day IL on September 2nd, and won’t be eligible to return until the end of the month.
Jimmie Sherfy (Left elbow inflammation): Sherfy was placed n the injured list with left elbow inflammation after a July 23rd loss against his former team, the San Francisco Giants. Sherfy allowed three runs on two hits, including a home run in the 10th inning of a 9-6 loss to the rival Giants. Sherfy was transferred to the 60-day IL on Aug. 1, effectively ending his regular season campaign.
Jimmy Nelson (Right elbow inflammation/Tommy John surgery): Following two previous stints on the IL, Nelson returned on July 25 in a win over the Colorado Rockies. Nelson made three appearances out of the bullpen, but went back on the IL on Aug. 4 with right elbow inflammation. Two days later, the team announced that Nelson would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery for a right elbow tendon tear. He was subsequently transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for Trea Turner on the roster.
Garrett Cleavinger (Right oblique strain): Cleaving allowed two runs in the 10th inning of the Dodgers last extra-innings loss against the Angels on Aug. 6. Two days later, he was placed on the IL with an oblique strain. Roberts said the injury is not expected to be serious, and Cleavinger could return “in a couple weeks.” More than likely that would occur when rosters expand on September 1.
Cole Hamels (Left Shoulder Inflammation): Hamels tenure with the Dodgers ended before it ever began. After signing with Los Angeles on Aug. 4, Hamels was sent to Camelback Ranch in Arizona to begin his program to return as a starting pitcher. However, less than two weeks later, it was announced that Hamels was dealing with left shoulder inflammation and his comeback was cut short. The Dodgers ended the experiment and placed Hamels on the 60-day IL, thus ending his season and chances of pitching in Dodger blue in 2021.
A.J. Pollock (Left Hamstring Strain): The Dodgers hottest hitter went down in San Francisco on Sept. 4 after an awkward slide into third base. Initially, the injury looked a lot worse than it was, and the team is lucky Pollock is only expected to miss a few weeks. As of Monday, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said Pollock would not travel with the team to Cincinnati, but is expected to make a rehab assignment later this week.
Billy McKinney (Left Hip Impingement): McKinney went on the IL on Sept. 10, but wasn’t getting much playing time beforehand. The left-handed hitter was batting just .192 between the Brewers, Mets and Dodgers this season. He was hitting an atrocious with Los Angeles before the injury.
Dodgers Injury Updates are provided throughout the season.
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