CHICAGO -- Dodgers right-hander Blake Treinen, the team’s most important reliever, will be sidelined until at least the All-Star break due to right shoulder inflammation.
Treinen, who has been out since April 14, reported shoulder pain following his last appearance. During that outing, Treinen saw a decrease in velocity. Initially, however, Treinen and the Dodgers said it wouldn’t be a lengthy absence.
After eight days on the active roster, the Dodgers decided to place the right-hander on the injured list. But as Treinen’s shoulder issue continued to linger, the Dodgers decided to run more tests. There was no structural damage. Treinen had another visit to the doctors scheduled for Monday, but the right-hander decided that he’s just going to rehab the shoulder.
“He’s still not playing catch, so I don’t have a timetable,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I will say it’s safe to say, his value for us is during the stretch run, whatever that means. So we’re going to take our time with him and do everything we can to make sure he’s ready for the second half of the season.”
As Roberts said, with the delicate nature of the injury, the Dodgers are estimating sometime after the All-Star break, but they are hesitant to put out an exact timeline for his return. It could be right after the break. It could also drag on longer.
What the Dodgers do know is that their bullpen, which has been one of the league’s best this season, just took a massive blow. Though Treinen hasn’t been the team’s closer, he’s often asked to handle the heart of the opposing teams’ lineups. In 102 appearances with the Dodgers, Treinen has posted a 2.50 ERA and has punched out 112 over 101 innings. The right-hander has established himself as one of the best relievers in baseball.
“It hasn’t shown itself yet, but it’s costly,” Roberts said. “It has obviously given other guys opportunities. But what he does for us is a big part of strategy and how our bullpen works. Blake is the most valuable reliever we have.”
With Treinen down, the Dodgers are going to need multiple pitchers to step up. Tommy Kahnle has been a welcomed addition since returning from Tommy John surgery and will continue to get more high-leverage situations. The Dodgers, however, will be cautious with Kahnle because he’s missed two years because of injury.
Brusdar Graterol will also be asked to shoulder a heavier workload. Graterol tossed two scoreless innings on Saturday against the Cubs and has shown improved command. Evan Phillips and Phil Bickford will also have to step up.
The Dodgers have plenty of options in a pitching staff that leads the league with a 2.12 ERA. But Treinen’s loss will be felt at some point. They just hope he gets back on the mound at some point during the stretch run.