A Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Injuries this Season
A look at the Los Angeles Dodgers' injuries this season
Braces, bandages, crutches and slings have been more frequent than smiles in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse this season. Injuries have been everywhere from the pitching staff to the bench to the outfield for a Dodgers club who has spent the majority of the season in last place in the National League West.
No one on the team wants to use injuries as an excuse for their slow start. Players who do that look like sore losers and excuse makers. But it’s no secret that the Dodgers have been hurt more by injuries than any team in Major League Baseball. They lead the league with 17 trips to the disabled list through the first two months of the season.
The players who have been on the DL aren’t scrubs either. Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke and All-Stars Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett are just three of the starters who have been bit by the injury bug. Just in the last five days, three starting position players landed on the dreaded disabled list and two starting pitchers were scratched from their starts.
Not once has manager Don Mattingly been able to start his projected starting lineup he had etched in his brain the day Spring Training began. Every time a starting position player returns from the DL, it seems as if another one takes his place. Before the season, the Dodgers had the luxury of having seven, yes seven, starting pitchers on their roster. Only two of those pitchers, ace Clayton Kershaw and rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, have avoided the disabled list this season. Also, five of their eight starting position players have been on the DL this season.
Some will call it bad luck. Others will just call it baseball. Let’s recap every Dodgers DL trip this season.
March 31: Multiple players
Like all teams do, the Dodgers placed multiple players on the DL the day before the season began. For L.A., they sent SS/3B Hanley Ramirez (thumb), LHP Ted Lilly (labrum), RHP Chad Billingsley (finger) and LHP Scott Elbert (elbow) to the DL. Ramirez was the biggest blow, and it was a bit unlucky, since he tore a ligament in his right finger fielding a ball in the World Baseball Classic. He returned later in the season but found the DL again as you will see later in this slideshow.
April 13: Zack Greinke
The injury parade really began for the Dodgers when Zack Greinke broke his collarbone during a brawl in San Diego. He plunked Carlos Quentin, who proceeded to charge Greinke. When the two players collided, Greinke was injured and missed a month with the injury. He has since returned, but during his last three starts, he has yet to record an out in the sixth inning. It's safe to say he, and the Dodgers, are still recovering from the injury.
April 15: Scott Tolleson
The Dodgers placed Scott Tolleson on the DL after he complained of a lower back strain during his first and only appearance of the season. He was expected to be the Dodgers long reliever this season but he may not return until after the All-Star break. Losing a veteran arm in the bullpen has proven costly for the Blue Crew.
April 18: Chris Capuano
Chris Capuano began the season in the bullpen, but was quickly thrown into the starting rotation when Greinke went down with his collarbone injury. During Capuano's first start of the season, he aggravated a calf injury that was originally hurt during the Greinke-Quentin brawl. He is back in the Dodgers' rotation after two weeks on the DL, but recently was scratched from his last start because of soreness in his forearm. He is expected to make his next start this week.
April 21: Chad Billingsley
The first major blow of the injury report for the Dodgers came when starting pitcher Chad Billingley complained of soreness in his pitching elbow. The injury was identical to the one he had last August that ultimately ended his 2012 campaign. He opted to not have surgery, which ended up hurting him even more. The right-hander is now out for the season and may not return until July 2014.
April 27: Stephen Fife
Stephen Fife was not even expected to pitch in the majors this season, but because of the early injuries to the Dodgers' starting rotation, the young right-hander was thrown into the mix. After two starts, he injured his shoulder and missed five weeks. He returned to action on Monday night and picked up his first win of his career.
May 4: Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly landed on the disabled list for the second time this season when he hurt his right rib cage during his third start of the season. The fragile southpaw has returned to the rotation, but has not dazzled. I wouldn't be surprised if he finds himself in the bullpen once the Dodgers get 100 percent healthy. Also, don't be shocked if he lands on the DL again.
May 5: Hanley Ramirez
Making only his fourth start of the season, Hanley Ramirez was back on the disabled list when he pulled his hamstring running the bases in San Francisco. Ramirez is expected to be back tonight after missing four weeks with the injury. The absence of his bat in the middle of the order has been a big void for the Dodgers this season. Dodgers fans will surely be holding their breathes when he runs the bases this week.
May 6: Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis' injury came at a bad time for the Dodgers. The starting second baseman was enjoying a hot start to the season before he strained his quad muscle trying to leg out an infield single. The Dodgers hoped it wasn't too serious, sitting him on the bench for six days before finally opting to put him on the DL. He is back in the Dodgers clubhouse, but has not been an everyday player since he returned two weeks ago.
May 8: Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jerry Hairston Jr. may not be an everyday starter for the Dodgers, but he is a valuable piece to the bench. He can play almost every position on the field. But a strained groin forced him to miss three weeks. He has returned to the active roster.
May 15: Josh Beckett
Former All-Star Josh Beckett revealed that he has been pitching with a sore groin the entire season and finally chose to hit the DL last month. He was supposed to be the Dodgers' no. 4 starter this season; now, the two-time World Series champion may not ever pitch again. His latest scare is nerve damage in his throwing hand which has caused him to lose feeling in his finger tips. His status is TBD.
May 30: Matt Kemp
Superstar Matt Kemp has struggled mightily this season. The bad news continued when he strained his hamstring while chasing a fly ball in center field. The injury is said not to be as serious as the hamstring pull he had in 2012 which sidelined him for 50-plus games. Kemp, who is also still recovering from shoulder surgery, is expected to back in the lineup in mid-June.
June 2: A.J. Ellis
The usually durable A.J. Ellis found the DL for the first time in his career when he strained his oblique muscle last week. It's a scary injury that usually nags players for the rest of the season. Losing Ellis is big for the Dodgers. He may not be the best offensive catcher, but he has been a solid backstop for the Dodgers since 2012.
June 3: Carl Crawford
I don't think anyone is surprised that Carl Crawford would eventually find himself on the DL this season. He has been a magnet for injuries the last three seasons and missed multiple games this year because of minor aches. He finally hit the DL this week with a strained hamstring in his left leg. The Dodgers first announced that it was a cramp, but an MRI revealed it was more serious. He most likely will not return until late June or early July.