Dodgers put Walker Buehler (finger blister) on IL, reinstate Joe Kelly

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Friday, September 11, 2020

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed starting pitcher Walker Buehler on the injured list Thursday because of a lingering blister issue in his pitching hand and reinstated hard-throwing reliever Joe Kelly, who will begin serving his five-game suspension for his confrontation with Houston Astros hitters in late July.

Buehler was placed on the IL in late August because of the same blister, which resides on his right index finger, and he missed a couple of turns through the rotation. He pitched five scoreless innings in his return on Sept. 2, but gave up five runs (two earned) in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday and later was shown picking at his blister in the dugout. Buehler displayed a good fastball in his most recent outing, throwing 14 pitches 99.5 mph or higher, but mostly stayed away from breaking balls.

Buehler tried to downplay the blister after the game, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who already had conducted his usual pregame media availability before the roster move was announced, acknowledged that it remained an issue.

Kelly originally was charged with an eight-game suspension for throwing behind Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and infamously making a pouty face on his way back to the dugout on July 28, causing both benches to empty at the height of concerns over COVID-19 outbreaks. An appeal reduced the punishment by three games, then Kelly was forced to the IL with shoulder inflammation.

Kelly recently expressed confidence in his ability to help the Dodgers in the postseason and was openly critical of Major League Baseball's suspension, noting that other players, particularly New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, were handed smaller suspensions for similar transgressions.

"I don't think there was too much weight held to their decisions on that aspect," Kelly said. "I think they're just throwing s--- out there. But it is what it is. I can't change that."

In other injury news, Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May left Thursday night's 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks after just one inning after he was hit on the left foot by a sharp grounder.

The Dodgers called the injury a bruise, but May will get a CT scan on the foot Friday.

Roberts said he hopes May won't be out for an extended period. The manager added that May wanted to stay in but it was a "no-brainer" to take him out since he still had some pain.

"I think tomorrow when we get back home we'll do a CT scan," Roberts said. "We should know more then."

Diamondbacks leadoff man Josh Rojas hit a hard grounder that ricocheted off the inside of May's left foot for a single. May limped around for a few minutes and Roberts and a trainer came out to check on the right-hander, but he stayed in the game and didn't allow a run.

May came out for the second inning but in the middle of his warm-up pitches, Roberts and the trainer returned to the mound. After a brief conversation, they took the pitcher out of the game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.