Dodgers lose yet another pitcher, place Julio Urias on IL with hamstring strain

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, May 18, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The Dodgers really didn’t need to lose Julio Urias. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

We’ve reached the point where the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ injured list has what would be one of the best rotations in MLB.

The Dodgers placed starting pitcher Julio Urías on the 15-day injured list with a left hamstring strain on Saturday, the team announced, making the southpaw their latest key pitcher to be sidelined. Reliever Wander Suero was called up in a corresponding move.

Urías last pitched on Thursday, when he was knocked around by the St. Louis Cardinals for six earned runs (and four homers) in three innings.

Dodgers’ pitching depth is growing dire

As things currently stand, the Dodgers have Urías, Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery), Dustin May (right forearm strain), Ryan Pepiot (left oblique strain and Michael Grove (right groin strain) on the injured list. The first three pitchers would make up the majority of their rotation in the best of times.

The team’s injured list isn’t far from a competent bullpen either with Blake Treinen (right shoulder), Daniel Hudson (left ACL), Alex Reyes (right labrum) and J.P. Feyereisen (right shoulder) all sidelined as well.

That’s a lot of pitchers to lose, to the point the Dodgers — a team that has prioritized pitching depth more than any MLB team in the last decade — might be on the verge of running out of useable starting pitchers.

With Urías unavailable, the Dodgers’ rotation now consists of Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Noah Syndergaard. Both Gonsolin and Syndergaard have had their own health issues this season, as Gonsolin began the season on the IL with an ankle sprain and Syndergaard dealt with significant blister issues over his last couple starts.

That means Kershaw — who has been placed on the injured list at least once in every season since 2015 — is now their healthiest starting pitcher.

What can the Dodgers do?

As far as immediate reinforcements go, the Dodgers figure to call up top-100 prospect Gavin Stone to fill one rotation spot. He would be trying to improve on an MLB debut earlier this season in which he allowed five runs (four earned) and eight hits in four innings while striking out one.

Things get even dicier from there. The most intriguing option is another top-100 prospect, the flamethrowing Bobby Miller, but he holds a 5.65 ERA after four starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. After that, we’re probably talking bullpen games at Dodger Stadium.

The good news is Grove might be close to a return, as he was sent on a rehab assignment Saturday. However, he also an 8.44 ERA in four starts this season, so his presence probably won’t stop the Dodgers from looking for answers.

Those issues haven’t hurt the Dodgers too much yet in the standings, as they still lead the NL West with a 29-17 record. Repeating that performance over the next 46 games, though, might be a tall order.

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