LOS ANGELES ― Tony Gonsolin’s season is officially over, and his 2024 season is in doubt too.
The Dodgers announced that Gonsolin will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Friday. The ligament transplant procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The typical timeline for recovery is 12 to 18 months.
Gonsolin, 29, had been pitching with a tear in the right ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow for some time, Manager Dave Roberts said. Surgery was always a question of when, not if. Why now?
“I think, to be quite honest, he could still pitch right now,” Roberts said. “But it just wasn’t … productive.”
Gonsolin went 8-5 with a career-high 4.98 ERA in 20 starts. The effect of the elbow injury impacted his performance as the season wore on. He was 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA on June 13, and 4-4 with a 7.51 ERA from that point on.
In his most recent start, Aug. 18 against the Miami Marlins, Gonsolin was torched for 10 runs in 3⅓ innings. He was placed on the injured list the next day.
“He felt good enough to pitch, where somebody else could have the same imaging and not be able to pitch,” Roberts said. “There were still (ninety-)threes and (ninety-)fours (on the radar gun). The slider was good. He just wasn’t getting guys out. At that point, we felt he’s earned the opportunity to try to work through it. He’s earned the opportunity to try to reach some incentives.
“At some point, we talked and said that ‘this was good enough’ and we both agreed.”
In addition to his $3.25 million base salary for 2023, Gonsolin was earning one point per start and one point per relief appearance of 3⅓ innings, fetching him an additional $500,000 for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. By making 20 starts, Gonsolin unlocked an additional $2 million in incentives. Roberts said there were no discussions about moving Gonsolin to the bullpen to continue his season.
Between the rotation’s struggles and Gonsolin’s personal motivation to rack up contract incentives, he was able to extend his season longer than most inevitable Tommy John surgery candidates.
The Dodgers’ rotation collectively posted a 6.04 ERA across 24 June starts – 29th in MLB. Rookies Michael Grove, Emmet Sheehan and Bobby Miller made half of those starts. Going into Monday’s game, Dodgers starters had thrown the third-fewest innings in the National League. Their starters’ 4.48 ERA is ninth among the 15 NL teams.
Since the calendar turned to August, the rotation has stabilized along with the additions of veterans Clayton Kershaw (who missed all of July with a shoulder injury) and Lance Lynn (who was acquired in a July 28 trade with the Chicago White Sox). Dodgers starters had a 3.28 ERA – third in MLB – across their first 25 August starts through Sunday.
“We had really honest conversations with Tony knowing the potential ultimate outcome, but appreciating him wanting to keep pitching,” Roberts said. “To be quite honest, where we were at with our pitching staff to that point in time, we were running through some guys and he felt he could pitch and help his ball club out. It went both ways.”
Gonsolin will miss his second straight postseason. A right forearm strain sidelined him for the final five weeks last year.
He is the third Dodgers starter since the start of last season to need Tommy John surgery. Right-hander Dustin May had his right flexor tendon repaired on July 18. Walker Buehler has not pitched this year after reconstructive elbow surgery last August and still hopes to pitch later this season.
PAT CORRALES DIES
Pat Corrales, who was working as a special assistant to the Dodgers’ general manager, passed away peacefully at his home in Big Canoe, Georgia on Sunday evening, the team announced. He was 82.
Corrales spent more than 64 years in professional baseball, becoming the first Mexican-American manager in MLB history in 1978 with the Texas Rangers. Corrales also managed the then-Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies before a long stint on the Atlanta Braves’ coaching staff under Hall of Fame skipper Bobby Cox. Corrales finished his career in the dugout as a coach with the Washington Nationals before he joined the Dodgers’ front office in November of 2012 as a special assistant to the president.
“He just loved baseball,” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. “The ins and outs of it. He loved talking. The best memories are probably him in the food room at Camelback Ranch, kind of holding court at some of the tables, talking the game. He had a good eye for talent, too. He used to talk about different guys and kind of knew right away whether they were going to be able to play or not. Just a baseball lifer, man.”
A Los Angeles native, Corrales signed his first contract at the age of 18 out of high school and spent his career as a catcher, manager, coach, and special assistant. He played nine seasons (1964-73) with the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres.
“I got him more at his later age, when he was more soft than he was as a young fiery player or manager,” Roberts said, “but he always took time for me. I loved our conversations. This guy just loved baseball.”
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten crossed paths with Corrales at several stops.
“I was fortunate to have worked with Pat for more than 30 years at three franchises, and he was instrumental in turning all three into championship organizations,” Kasten said in a statement. “He loved mentoring young players and the number of players he influenced is too long to count. Pat truly loved the game of baseball, and we will miss him.”
Mookie Betts was named the National League Player of the Week after going 16 for 26 (.615) with a home run, seven RBIs, two steals, and a 1.540 on-base plus slugging percentage in six games. He entered Monday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks riding a 15-game hitting streak. … Designated hitter J.D. Martinez (back/groin) will resume swinging Tuesday after a 10-day layoff, Roberts said. He is not expected to go on a minor league rehab assignment before returning during the Dodgers’ road trip to Miami and Washington, D.C. Sept. 5-10. … Pitcher Shelby Miller, currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City, could return later this homestand, Roberts said. Rosters expand to 28 on Friday. Miller had a 2.40 ERA in 25 games before he was sidelined with a neck injury.
Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Merrill Kelly, 10-5, 2.97 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 11-4, 2.52 ERA), Tuesday, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market only), 570 AM
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