Dodgers’ Bullpen Plan With Corey Knebel Out ‘Few Months’

The bulk of injuries the Los Angeles Dodgers have absorbed this season are on the position player side of the roster, but another pitcher went down Friday when Corey Knebel was removed from his appearance after facing just one batter.

Knebel winced after yanking a fastball in the dirt for ball four and walked slowly around the mound. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and a trainer jogged out to the mound, and Knebel was removed after a brief conversation.

An MRI the following morning revealed he suffered a right lat strain that led to being placed on the 10-day injured list. “It’s going to be a few months looking out,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to be specific to a timeline, because I just don’t really know. I don’t think anyone knows. Our hope, our expectation is that he will pitch again for us this year.”

The Dodgers acquired Knebel in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers at deadline to tender contracts during the offseason, and it was immediately paying dividends. He didn’t allow a hit or run in seven appearances to begin the season, with that stretch snapped last week.

Now due to be without one of their high-leverage relief pitchers, Roberts anticipates the Dodgers relying on multiple options outside of the expected Blake Treinen and Victor Gonzalez.

“We have a lot of capable guys. Scott Alexander is going to continue to get those opportunities, Brusdar is going to continue to get those opportunities, and everybody around them,” Roberts said.

“I still love our ‘pen, I still like our arms. I just feel really bad for Corey because it was such a long road for him to get back and he was throwing the heck out of the baseball. To kind of have a speed bump in the middle of the season, I know he’s disappointed. But like I said, I expect him to be back at some point in time this year and guys have got to step up.”

Roberts added Joe Kelly would be another candidate to fill the void created by Knebel’s injury. Kelly remains on the 10-day IL due to right shoulder inflammation and the hope is he could be activated in early or the middle of May.

Roberts relieved with Knebel

Considering Knebel previously underwent Tommy John surgery, there was some concern his latest injury could have been related to the right elbow. Roberts said it “absolutely” was a silver lining to learn that is not the case.

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