Kenta Maeda dominated the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night, turning in his best start of the 2019 season. It was a bit of a shock, then, when reports surfaced that the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher would be heading to the 10-day injured list.
Maeda fouled a pitch off his left leg during the bottom of the sixth inning, then was removed in the top of the seventh with two out. SportsNet LA cameras caught him grimacing in the dugout soon after his plate appearance.
The right-hander had thrown only 85 pitches and just recorded his 12th strikeout of the game, prompting fans to boo manager Dave Roberts as he took the ball from Maeda. Roberts later defended his decision, explaining that Maeda did not seem as sharp to him in the seventh.
Because of the bruise caused by the foul ball, categorized as a left adductor contusion, Maeda was placed on to the 10-day disabled list on Friday. He didn’t provide any specifics but vowed to make a speedy recovery, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“Something happened,” he said through an interpreter Friday in the visitors’ clubhouse at Great American Ballpark. “I’ll be back soon. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Meanwhile, Roberts added that Maeda will throw a bullpen session in the middle of next week:
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed the pitcher’s lack of concern, calling the injury, which occurred when Maeda fouled a pitch off his leg Wednesday, “not serious.” He said Maeda is scheduled to throw “an aggressive bullpen” Tuesday in Tampa Bay.
Maeda being scheduled to throw Wednesday aligns with when he may have next started. Instead, Rich Hill will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale at Tropicana Field.
For now the Dodgers do not need to replace Maeda in the rotation because they had an off day Thursday and two more coming Monday and Thursday of next week.
It’s allowing for Clayton Kershaw, Hill, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu to take their turns in the rotation on extra rest. Hill’s start on Friday night as his first in seven days, and he turned in his best outing of the season.
Maeda will be eligible could come off the injured list to start as soon as May 26, when the Dodgers play the Pittsburgh Pirates during the final leg of their eight-game road trip.
Maeda’s 2019 season has been bumpy at times, but he looked like he was finally getting into a rhythm over his last couple of starts. The Dodgers will hope the expected brief time on the IL does not disrupt that.