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Dodgers' Koehler sidelined by shoulder sprain

Friedman: Club unlikely to pursue replacement via trade, free agency
MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Tom Koehler is out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Saturday he's no more likely to make a free-agent or trade acquisition than he was before the injury.

"We've had conversations in the last few weeks on things that would add to our depth," said Friedman. "I don't think it makes it more likely; A., because we're not sure how long he will be out, and B., because we also plan for some of this with depth in the offseason and guys that can fill different roles. It doesn't change the thought process; nothing will make more sense now than three weeks ago."

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Tom Koehler is out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Saturday he's no more likely to make a free-agent or trade acquisition than he was before the injury.

"We've had conversations in the last few weeks on things that would add to our depth," said Friedman. "I don't think it makes it more likely; A., because we're not sure how long he will be out, and B., because we also plan for some of this with depth in the offseason and guys that can fill different roles. It doesn't change the thought process; nothing will make more sense now than three weeks ago."

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Koehler said he could be out "weeks" or "months" with a mild sprain of the anterior shoulder capsule suffered in Friday's game with the White Sox. The club said he does not need surgery.

Koehler, with his right arm in a sling, said surgery was not mentioned. He said this injury has "nothing to do" with a stint he spent on the disabled list last year for right shoulder bursitis.

"I don't know how long it's going to take, but I know the surgery option was not mentioned, and I will be pitching again this year," he said. "That's why I'm sort of upbeat today. It's just a matter of when."

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Koehler, 31, spent four weeks on the disabled list last year with shoulder bursitis while a starting pitcher with the Marlins. After posting a 7.92 ERA, he was traded to Toronto in August and converted to relief, enjoying a renaissance with a 2.65 ERA in 14 relief appearances and one start.

With Koehler beginning the season on the disabled list, his bullpen spot could go to Wilmer Font (who is out of options), Yimi Garcia or Adam Liberatore, among others. Based on comments from Friedman and manager Dave Roberts, the bullpen already consists of Kenley Jansen, Scott Alexander, Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling and probably Pedro Baez and/or Josh Fields. Before Koehler's injury, the club planned to carry eight relievers.

"The tough part is Tom fit our 'pen in a very specific way in a pitch-mix perspective to allow different looks that we didn't have last year," said Friedman. "We'll think it through. I still think it will help, just not as often as we hoped."

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The Dodgers signed Koehler as a free agent with hopes he would pick up some of the relief innings available after the departure of free agent Brandon Morrow. Friday's outing marked Koehler's second game appearance of the spring, five days after the first.

"I felt great in the bullpen; actually, really good," said Koehler, who had an extended bullpen warmup because the Dodgers scored four runs in the top of the third inning. "I got in the game, I threw a couple of pitches and just wasn't feeling right. I've pitched through things before, where you feel something on one pitch and two pitches later it's gone. This wasn't the case. It progressively got a little bit worse. I was supposed to go two innings. In my head, I just wanted to go one, but it got to the point where I knew I couldn't keep going."

In talking to trainers and doctors, Koehler said he was reassured the long warmup wasn't the cause of the injury.

"It seems it's one of those things that just happened," he said. "No warning signs prior. I'm diligent in the work I do, I take care of my body and arm, that's why I'm here. I sat up at night wondering, 'Did I do something specifically the last couple days?' I even thought about the long inning. But when I got out there I felt good.

"This doesn't change my goal on the season, it just delays it a little bit. I came here to help this team win a World Series. If it starts later, so be it. I hope an impact can be made on the back end and the middle. They'll be able to pick up the slack for sure."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Tom Koehler