Dodgers Put Joe Kelly on IL as Buehler Returns

Kelly's recent game highlighted ongoing bullpen challenges for Dodgers.

by Nouman Rasool
Dodgers Put Joe Kelly on IL as Buehler Returns
© Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In a strategic move reflecting the ongoing challenges in their bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed veteran reliever Joe Kelly on the 15-day injured list due to a posterior shoulder strain. The announcement came just as the Dodgers were gearing up to face the Miami Marlins, a game they eventually secured with a 6-3 victory.

The timing of Kelly’s injury coincides with the much-anticipated return of starting pitcher Walker Buehler, who is set to make his season debut on the mound. Although Kelly’s shoulder ailment is not deemed severe, the discomfort has sidelined him, prompting the team to take a cautious approach with his recovery.

Joe Kelly, now in his 13th major league season, has encountered a series of injuries that have hindered his consistency on the mound. Last season, Kelly faced three different stints on the injured list, including a forearm strain while with the Dodgers and two separate injuries—a right groin strain and elbow inflammation—during his time with the Chicago White Sox.

Kelly's Resilient Performance

In his most recent outing, Kelly demonstrated his resilience, striking out Atlanta Braves powerhouse Adam Duvall. However, the recurring injuries pose an ongoing concern for the Dodgers’ bullpen strategy.

The team has already dealt with significant setbacks this season, placing relievers Evan Phillips and Ryan Brasier on the injured list, with Brasier not expected to return until July. The absence of Brusdar Graterol, who has yet to make his season debut, further complicates the bullpen dynamics.

With no set return date for Graterol and Kelly now sidelined, the Dodgers face mounting pressure to maintain their bullpen strength. Looking ahead, the Dodgers must rely on their remaining pitchers, including left-handers Ryan Yarbrough and Alex Vesia, and right-handers Michael Grove and Daniel Hudson, to navigate through the upcoming games.

The recent return of Blake Treinen to pitching is a positive development, yet the team remains vigilant against the risk of further injuries. As the Dodgers prepare for Game 2 against the Marlins at Dodger Stadium, the focus intensifies on their offensive lineup and starting rotation.

Each member of the team is under pressure to elevate their performance and ensure the bullpen's vulnerabilities do not undermine their season aspirations.