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Gonsolin starts Friday; Kershaw progressing

Three-time Cy Young Award winner could return Sunday or Monday
@kengurnick
July 31, 2020

Rookie Tony Gonsolin was recalled from the Dodgers’ alternate training site at USC to start Friday night’s game against the D-backs. Manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw, who was scheduled to throw a full bullpen session on Thursday, could come off the 10-day injured list to start Sunday or Monday

Rookie Tony Gonsolin was recalled from the Dodgers’ alternate training site at USC to start Friday night’s game against the D-backs.

Manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw, who was scheduled to throw a full bullpen session on Thursday, could come off the 10-day injured list to start Sunday or Monday for the Dodgers.

Gonsolin gets the call to replace the injured Alex Wood. Gonsolin reported late to Summer Camp with no club explanation and was the first player optioned so that he could build up his arm for a situation like this. Roberts would not say how deep he expected Gonsolin to pitch; he could be an opener for a bullpen game.

Gonsolin traveled to Phoenix by car from Los Angeles to avoid flying commercially for safety concerns, Roberts said. Right-hander Josh Sborz was optioned to the alternate site.

Roberts talks suspensions
Roberts did not complain about the one-game suspension he received for Tuesday night’s incident in Houston -- “That’s part of it” -- but he called Joe Kelly’s eight-game suspension for throwing near the heads of Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa “too aggressive.” That’s 13 percent of the 60-game season. Extrapolated over a 162-game season, the eight games would translate into approximately 21 games.

Roberts said he spoke with Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations Chris Young, who is in his first season in charge of administering discipline and was Roberts' teammate on the 2006 Padres.

“We’re hoping it gets shortened,” Roberts said of Kelly's suspension, which is under appeal. “I did have a conversation with Chris and I pleaded our case. I don’t have any say in it, unfortunately. In their opinion, he was throwing at a hitter and they’re really trying to get away from balls going at players. No one admitted that he did it on purpose -- it got away, part of the game. But in their opinion, it was different."

Roberts said he believes the harshness of the suspension was the result of a perfect storm.

“It’s a combo, a mixed bag of things that led to that harsh of a suspension,” Roberts said. “Given what transpired this winter [fallout from the Astros' sign-stealing scandal], the history between the two clubs, then you bring in the pandemic and social distancing and the bean-balling last year in the National League became a big issue. So, all that stuff, and the fact of MLB trying to deter this.”

Roberts didn’t mention that in 2018 while with Boston, Kelly hit Yankee Tyler Austin with a pitch in retaliation for an aggressive slide, triggering a brawl. Kelly received a six-game suspension at the time, and repeated offenses are generally met with increased punishment.

Pollock opens up
A.J. Pollock returned with the Dodgers to Arizona for the first time since he and his wife, Kate, brought home baby daughter Maddie, who was born three months premature during the shutdown and spent 130 days in the hospital until she was strong enough to leave.

“It was awesome,” Pollock said.

Not as awesome, Pollock indicated, was the clubhouse reaction to Kelly’s suspension.

“I think we were all pretty shocked and it seemed very, very harsh and I don’t think anyone’s too happy about it,” said Pollock. “When a pitcher’s on the mound, guys get hit, stuff happens. No one got hit. I think they’re trying to find some intent and that’s a really hard thing to find.

“This game has policed itself for so many years. You hope that teams are all being treated equally. I don’t know if he’s doing that. Most baseball guys that are true baseball guys would say that’s outrageous. It didn’t seem right to me, with what happened with the Astros, no fines or suspension on that end. It is bizarre. I wasn’t on this team in 2017, and [as] a person that’s in baseball, I’m pretty upset about what happened. I think they crossed the line pretty significantly. I’m sure there are other people not on the Dodgers that are pretty upset. I didn’t like the punishment. Just too much.”

News and notes
The Dodgers recalled left-handed pitcher Victor González and designated outfielder Terrance Gore for assignment. González had been a member of the taxi squad. This is González’s first big league promotion. Gore, added primarily for his baserunning speed, appeared in two games.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.