Los Angeles Dodgers starter Dustin May, one of the brightest young pitchers in the game, will undergo seasonal surgery on Tommy John to repair a damaged bone collateral ligament, the team said Monday.
The operation is scheduled for Tuesday in Los Angeles and will be performed by Dr. Neil El Atrache. The recovery schedule usually falls somewhere between 12 and 16 months, a forecast that may return in May for the 2022 season. On May 23, it is not planned to reach a free agency until after the 2026 season.
“I feel it for him, most importantly,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “It’s a big blow for our ball club. But we have a lot of talented players and we just have to find a way to fill that gap.”
The Dodgers started the season with plenty of high-quality starting dudes, but are now reduced to four solid starters – Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buhler, Trevor Bauer and Julio Urias. David Price, who operated on his role as a bull, is caring for a lower leg injury that will keep him in for four to six weeks. And Tony Gonsolin is still on the injured list, although he has begun the recovery process as a starting pitcher.
Gonsolin may return before the end of May, after which he will essentially take May’s place. The price is expected to return as a relief. The Dodgers, meanwhile – forced to split twice on Tuesday after Wrigley Field’s game was postponed Monday due to bad weather – could use an assortment of facilitators whenever a fifth starter is needed.
Another option could be to launch Bauer every four days, as opposed to the traditional five. Bauer has long welcomed the opportunity to work on this schedule, saying that his body has been able to stay at an optimal level with a less day off between starts.
“We thought about it, yes,” said Roberts, who also previously ruled out using top prospect Josiah Gray as a starter on the spot. “There’s a scenario that this could happen. I think we’re doing a good job of entertaining certain things, and Trevor certainly talked about it.”
May has a 2.93 ERA with 111 strikes and 27 walks in 113 2/3 regular seasons over the past three years, astonishing fans and critics with her range of three-digit sinkers and devastating cutters. May won fifth place in the Dodgers’ rotation, coming out of spring training and seems to have reached another level in his development in 2021, with a 2.74 ERA in five starts.
He left his start on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers with pain in his right arm and underwent an MRI while the team was in Chicago on Monday morning, revealing a tear from UCL, significant enough to require surgery.
Roberts said there were no warning signs leading to the injury. May’s pre-hugs went well, as did his work between starts days earlier. Nine pitches before coming out, May threw a fast ball at 99.7 miles per hour. But his last appeared at 94.3 mph, his slowest fast ball of the season. He may frown noticeably and make a sign to the dugout.
It will be a long time before he throws another pitch.
Roberts spoke with May earlier Monday and said he was “obviously emotionally incompetent.”
“When you hear of a final decision, the result, as far as you have to operate, is obviously very disappointing. He handles it like a professional, he wants to know what the next step is after the operation and attack it that way. But, yes, I think that I am disappointed, for sure. “