Syndergaard (finger blister) lands on IL

June 8th, 2023

CINCINNATI -- After a frustratingly disappointing start to his Dodgers tenure and a couple of injuries to his right index finger,  is getting a reset.

The Dodgers placed the veteran right-hander on the 15-day injured list Thursday, officially for a blister, following yet another poor start. They have not set a timetable for his return.

Southpaw is expected to rejoin the rotation on Sunday, so Los Angeles recalled reliever  in a corresponding move Thursday to bolster the bullpen in the meantime.

Syndergaard returned home Thursday, a day after he allowed six runs over three innings. He has allowed 20 runs over 19 innings in his past four starts, which raised his ERA to 7.16 -- highest in baseball among pitchers with at least as many innings (55 1/3).

“I think with Noah, the physical, the mental, the emotional part, as he's talked about, has taken a toll on him,” manager Dave Roberts said. “So the ability to get him away from this -- he left today to go back to Los Angeles -- you know, to kind of get back, get back to normalcy. … I think for me it's just kind of a reset, and we'll see where we go from there.”

Syndergaard has dealt with a blister issue dating back to his May 9 start, which was cut short after one inning due to that injury. Roberts said Syndergaard had a broken fingernail on the same finger on Wednesday’s start, which also affected him. The team wants to let his finger heal but also knows that he has more work to do to get back to the pitcher who earned a one-year, $13 million deal this offseason.

Roberts said Syndergaard will stay in Los Angeles during his IL stint and will continue to throw as the team’s training staff, pitching coaches and strength and conditioning unit come up with a full plan.

Part of the frustration with Syndergaard’s season is that he is committed to try many different ways to improve. He no longer has his once-signature velocity -- his fastball is averaging 92.4 mph this year, more than 4 mph below his career average -- and he continues to change his pitch mix, so far in vain.

“I don't think that he embraced whatever version was there,” Roberts said, “in the sense that, at one point, I think he was really dead-set on chasing velocity and getting back to that person who can throw the ball 100 mph, and then I think there was some resolve to commanding the baseball, increasing movement, and then he went back to kind of wanting to get some more velocity.

"I think searching and not being comfortable with where he was at in the moment is certainly evident in his performance, so hopefully this time away, there will be a bit more clarity on who he is right now as a pitcher.”

If there’s a silver lining for the Dodgers, it’s that they can give rookies and , baseball’s No. 19 prospect per MLB Pipeline, more runway now that their rotation spots are currently safe. Roberts expects Syndergaard back later this season but said that it will take much longer than the minimum 15 days.