Why one wrong step (literally) is delaying Tony Gonsolin's pursuit of 'unfinished business'

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin will begin the season on the hurt list after spraining an ankle. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The injury looked so harmless in the minute, Tony Gonsolin’s colleagues at first laughing at his one incorrect action.

After a round of fielding drills for Dodgers pitchers on a backfield at Camelback Ranch previously this month, Gonsolin was gradually trotting far from the mound when his left foot unexpectedly paved the way on the infield turf, twisting his ankle and knocking him off balance.

At initially, a group of fellow pitchers standing close by discovered humor in the sight, razzing their feline-loving colleague for stopping working to arrive on his feet.

Within a couple of minutes, nevertheless, the state of mind ended up being more severe.

Gonsolin got at his ankle in apparent discomfort. He strolled gingerly to the dugout to be examined by a fitness instructor. Then he hopped in a golf cart and was repelled.

The pitcher, it ended up, had actually suffered a sprained ankle, and it might be a while prior to he appears in a video game once again.

Almost 2 weeks eliminated from the injury, supervisor Dave Roberts validated Friday that Gonsolin won’t be healthy in time for opening day.

“To say he’s gonna start the season,” Roberts stated, “that’s not gonna happen.”

An precise timeline for Gonsolin’s return is uncertain. If his healing doesn’t accelerate — which appears not likely after Roberts warned several times it will be a “slow” procedure — the pitcher might be in threat of missing out on several starts to start the season.

“Long-term, I don’t think it’s gonna be an issue,” Roberts stated. “But that speaks to how we’re gonna handle this thing on the front end.”

Consider it among 9 lives burned for the so-called “Catman” — a freaky, ill-timed, actual mistake that won’t hinder his 2023 season, however is postponing his pursuit of “unfinished business,” as Roberts described it, from in 2015.

While Gonsolin had a profession routine season in 2022 — he went 16-1 with a 2.14 period to make his very first All-Star choice — he was among numerous Dodgers who stopped working to carry out in their abrupt postseason removal.

After missing out on the majority of September since of a lower arm injury, Gonsolin tumbled in his only getaway versus the San Diego Padres, getting just 4 outs in a Game 3 start the Dodgers were hoping would last 4 innings.

While Gonsolin quit simply one run, his early exit assisted put the group behind the 8 ball for the rest of that video game, which ended in a loss, and the series, which ended with a spectacular four-game defeat a night later on.

The disappointment stuck around into the start of Gonsolin’s offseason, ending up being the current in a pattern of playoff dissatisfactions for the four-year veteran.

“It sucked,” he stated when inquired about his surface to the year following his very first, and just, Cactus League begin this spring on March 3. “I seem like I did it back-to-back years in 2021 and ‘22.”

Gonsolin turned the setbacks into motivation while crafting his personal goals in 2023.

“Go wall to wall,” Gonsolin declared. “Go from start to finish.”

The start, now, has been complicated.

While Gonsolin denied multiple requests from reporters in the last week to discuss his injury, Roberts said the 28-year-old’s discontent has actually been clear.

“You work all offseason to get to a certain point to come into camp, and then to have this setback early on, yeah, he’s frustrated,” Roberts stated.

Asked where the randomness of Gonsolin’s ankle roll ranked amongst injuries he’s seen in his profession, Roberts acknowledged it was “up there.”

“It was something very, obviously, benign,” Roberts stated. “A guy like Tony, to have something like this happen, to be up to this point costly, it’s very freakish.”

The difficulty now for Gonsolin and the Dodgers will be making certain the pitcher remains primed for a strong return and, ultimately, surface to 2023, when he will when again be anticipated to work as an anchor of the group’s beginning rotation.

“Tony talked about finishing the race or finishing the season strong, that’s still in play,” Roberts stated. “But I think, to make sure we nip this and don’t have it linger, is very important.”

Dodgers pitching coaches were attempting to strike a various sort of balance prior to Gonsolin’s injury, keeping his focus narrowed on the everyday while trying to find big-picture enhancements to be made from last season.

“It’s all about just keeping everything in perspective,” assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness stated. “I think it’s frustrating for all of us, and frustrating for him of course, that he had the year he had, and then had a little hiccup there at the end. So I know it’s front of mind. … But we just don’t want him thinking too much into the future. If he just takes it day by day, we know he’s going to be outstanding for us.”

After tossing two-plus scoreless innings in his Cactus League launching at the start of the month, Gonsolin felt he was making such strides.

“I had a better understanding of what I was preparing for,” he stated. “Just kind of figuring out the routine, the day-to-day routine and being able to build my body up in a way to withstand the innings load.”

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin warms up before the first inning of a spring training game against the Angels.

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin heats up prior to the very first inning of a spring-training video game versus the Angels on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

While that work is on hold, Gonsolin’s larger objectives for this season — progressively enhancing throughout a complete project, and pitching his finest when it matters down the stretch — stay undamaged.

It’s a crucial action in his growing profession.

He’ll be hoping it goes smoother than the one that left him with the hurting ankle that will postpone the start of his season.

“As long as we stay on the same page with him, he should be good to go,” McGuiness stated. “He’s an absolute beast. He’s going to be back out there soon.”

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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