While the injury to starter Tony Gonsolin isn't serious, the Los Angeles Dodgers know he will begin the 2023 season on the IL. That means another arm must take his spot in the rotation and on Friday, the organization decided who that someone will be: Ryan Pepiot. The righty is set to be the No. 5 option for the time being, while Michael Grove, who was also competing with Pepiot for the role, was sent down to the minors, as reported by Jack Harris of the LA Times.
Pepiot showed promise in limited innings at the MLB level last year, going 3-0 with a 3.47 ERA, making seven starts, and also coming out of the bullpen twice. While he did struggle to consistently pound the strike zone, Pepiot has flipped the switch in Spring Training, allowing a mere five free passes in five Cactus League starts. Dave Roberts explained why he believes the youngster is ready for this opportunity:
“He’s made huge strides,” Roberts said, via MLB.com. “And I say that with the mechanics. The delivery is a lot more consistent. There just seems to be more clarity and things have slowed down for him. We just feel like his stuff plays at the Major League level.”
It remains to be seen what the Dodgers will do with Pepiot once Gonsolin is back. The 28-year-old was already throwing off the mound Friday, which means recovery is evidently going well:
Tony Gonsolin is throwing off a mound right now
Good sign for his recovery from a sprained ankle pic.twitter.com/CN8DZ1iC9H
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) March 24, 2023
There is no question Gonsolin is going to be in the rotation again when he's healthy, but if Pepiot shows the ability to consistently get outs, LA will undoubtedly find some type of role for him.