The Los Angeles Dodgers were minutes away from taking the field for one of their split-squad games on Sunday, their five-man starting rotation for the regular season seemingly set. Then, the pitching staff was flipped on its head once more.
Mike Bolsinger was essentially a game-time scratch after feeling tightness while warming up in the bullpen. The Dodgers called on Jeremy Kehrt, who made 22 starts with Double-A Tulsa last season, to fill in for Bolsinger.
The results, as one may have expected, leaned heavily in the San Diego Padres’ favor as they scored six runs in the second inning and chased Kehrt.
The Dodgers optioned Zach Lee to Minor League camp roughly 30 minutes prior to Bolsinger becoming the latest to fall victim to the injury bug.
With Lee removed from the equation and Brandon Beachy suffering from elbow tendinitis, Bolsinger appeared to be the winner in the competition for the fifth starter job.
Bolsinger acknowledged the unfortunate timing of his injury, but believes it’s not a long-term issue, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It’s just a little tweak, but it’s bad timing, especially right now, with two weeks left in Spring Training. Worst case, I’m out for a week, I wouldn’t think it affects my way of working up a pitch count. I’m a little disappointing not to get it.”
The Dodgers announced Bolsinger was scratched due to tightness on his left side. It’s plausible, however, that the right-hander has an oblique strain. Even if that’s the case, Bolsinger added he is able to move better than some who injured their oblique:
“At this point, I’m not too worried,” he said. “I can still twist and turn and all that stuff. I talked to guys who had it before, and they couldn’t even move.”
Generally speaking, an oblique strain can take one month to fully heal. Last season, Carl Crawford tore his oblique muscle on April 28 and didn’t return until July 21. With uncertainty now surrounding Beachy and Bolsinger, the Dodgers may cancel Lee’s option and return him to big league camp.
Bolsinger was 6-6 with a 3.62 ERA, 3.91 FIP and 1.36 WHIP in 21 starts with the Dodgers last season. He recently pointed to his poor performance in September as motivation to prove he’s capable of being part of the Dodgers’ rotation this season.