Tony Gonsolin returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation on Monday to start against the Colorado Rockies after missing five weeks while recovering from a right forearm strain.
Although the Dodgers suffered a second consecutive loss, it was a positive night for Gonsolin as he pitched two innings while throwing 40 pitches, and gave up one run on three hits while adding three strikeouts.
While it was treated somewhat like a rehab start for Gonsolin, and the game was ultimately meaningless with the Dodgers not having anything at stake, that didn’t stop the 2022 All-Star from feeling a bit emotional about his return to the mound.
“I noticed when I was warming up in the pregame bullpen during the stretch and all that stuff, I was pretty nervous out there,” Gonsolin said.
“I hadn’t felt that in a while. Yeah, I tried to go out there and execute pitches, and I did a little bit of that. But for the most part, I got a couple of things to work on this next bullpen and the final kind of outing before the playoffs start.”
Following his outing, Gonsolin went down to the bullpen and threw about 10 to 14 more pitches as he continues to build his arm back up. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was pleased with the start the 28-year-old turned in. “Overall, I thought good,” Roberts said.
“You know, I didn’t expect him to be razor-sharp tonight. But obviously, ideally, we wanted to get him through three innings. Didn’t happen, but I thought the stuff was good. I thought velocity was good, command was just a tick off. There were some good sliders, some good changes in there.
“So I think the main thing is we got out of it having him healthy, and checked the box.”
Of his 40 pitches, Gonsolin threw nine splitters, which batters swung at five times and whiffed on each of those. It has been Gonsolin’s best pitch, and when it’s on, it makes him a tough pitcher to face. “I’ve always had a fairly good feel with it,” Gonsolin said.
“And it was probably the first thing that kind of bounced back in this build-up process. Just that feeling of control with it and kind of the execution with it was pretty good.”
Gonsolin also said he felt like he was able to throw with the same intensity he had prior to the injury, which may be the biggest positive as the club moves toward the postseason, where he should be an important part of their pitching staff.
Gonsolin still has some more work to do before the playoffs begin for the Dodgers on Oct. 11, but getting back on the mound in a Major League game was a big step in the right direction.
“It feels good to go out there and face Big League hitters and still get some results that are good,” Gonsolin said. “And there were some bad ones in there, but kind of know what to do to make that adjustment and just going from there.”
What’s next for Tony Gonsolin
For Gonsolin, the next step in his buildup process is to throw a simulated game on Sunday, which is expected to be roughly three to four innings at around 60 pitches. If that goes well, his next start would come either in Game 3 or 4 of the National League Division Series.
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