Dodgers Dugout: Once again, Dodgers do the right thing for Andrew Toles

Los Angeles Dodgers' Andrew Toles
Andrew Toles in 2016.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and the season opener is just eight days away.

Andrew Toles hasn’t played for the Dodgers since Sept. 30, 2018. However, he just had his contract renewed for another year last week.

You probably know Toles’ story. He hit .364 in the 2016 postseason for the Dodgers and was off to a solid start in 2017 when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament sliding into the wall while trying to make a catch. He missed the rest of that season but returned in 2018, playing 17 games. He wasn’t at spring training in 2019, and it was eventually learned he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

In 2020, Toles was found sleeping behind a building at Key West International Airport in Florida. He was homeless and taken to a mental health facility.


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At last report, Toles was in the care of his father, Alvin, who said Andrew is in a “zombie-like” condition. ”We are having challenges,” Alvin told USA Today in 2021, “but nothing that God and I can’t handle. Schizophrenia, it’s just so tough. I mean, he can’t even watch TV. He hears voices and the TV at the same time, so it’s kind of confusing. I’ve seen him looking at some baseball games on his laptop, but I don’t think he really understands what’s going on. I just want him to have a chance in life. That’s all. Just to be healthy, live a normal life.”

It would be easy for the Dodgers to cut ties with Toles and wish him well. Instead, they have renewed his contract every year so Toles, 30, can keep his health insurance. They did so again this year. It’s a classy gesture that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The story did not go unnoticed by former Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler, who signed with the team in 2017, injured his shoulder in spring training and never pitched an inning for the team.

“I love this,” Koehler said on Twitter. “Saw it first hand how they treated me when I could provide nothing for them. I am not surprised they are helping Andrew. It’s bigger than sports.”

I would guess that almost all of us have a friend or family member who has suffered from a mental illness. While it seems unlikely that Toles will ever play in the majors again, let’s hope that he can just enjoy life again. And if things work out perfectly and he’s able to return to Dodger Stadium one day to throw out the first pitch or just wave from the stands, let’s hope there’s a sellout crowd on hand to give him a standing ovation.

Tony Gonsolin out

Tony Gonsolin will start the season on the 15-day injured list because of a sprained ankle, opening a rotation spot for the Dodgers. Who will it be? The leading candidates:


Ryan Pepiot, who started seven games for L.A. last season, finishing with a 3.47 ERA, giving up 26 hits and 27 walks in 36 1/3 innings, striking out 42. This spring, he has a 2.00 ERA in nine innings, striking out 13 and walking only nine.

Michael Grove, who started six games for L.A. last season, finishing with a 4.60 ERA, giving up 32 hits and walking 10 in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 24. He has a 4.38 ERA in 12 1/3 spring innings, striking out 14 and walking only one. He has given up three homers, though.

The money is on Pepiot, but there’s one other intriguing candidate who probably won’t get the job but would get it if you just go by numbers.

Gavin Stone isn’t even on the 40-man roster, but he has had an exceptional spring, striking out 14 in 6 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and two walks. Last season, with three minor league teams, he had a 1.48 ERA in 121 2/3 innings, striking out 168, walking 44 and giving up 92 hits. He got better as he moved up the ladder, finishing the season with six starts at triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had a 1.16 ERA in 23 1/3 innings, striking out 33 while giving up 14 hits and eight walks. The Dodgers will probably want him to get a bit more seasoning in the minors, where he can pitch regularly rather than be the No. 5 guy in the Dodgers’ rotation. But his time is coming, and if the Dodgers don’t re-sign Julio Urías, it might be because they believe Stone can fill his spot very nicely. Of course, why not have both?

Key info on J.D. Martinez

One of the seemingly dozens of Dodgers broadcasters is Tim Neverett, who used to broadcast games for the Boston Red Sox. Playing for the Red Sox then was J.D. Martinez, the current designated hitter for the Dodgers. Neverett told Dodgers Nation how fans can tell when Martinez is locked in at the plate:

“When he drives the ball to right-center field, he’s got his swing on. He likes to, what he calls, ‘compress his swing,’ so it’s gotta be kind of a tight swing. He can be a real value driving in runs. He’s going to have a slugging percentage especially against lefties — he crushes lefties, and I think he’s going to be a great addition. … If he’s starting to hit those gap doubles to right-center, he’s seeing the ball well.”


Speaking of stats

Here’s how key Dodgers are doing this spring (through Sunday):

Eddys Leonard, .409 (9 for 22), 1 double, 1 homer
Freddie Freeman, .381 (8 for 21), 2 doubles, 3 homers
Will Smith, .357 (5 for 14), 1 double
Johnny DeLuca, .350 (7 for 20), 1 double, 1 homer
Miguel Rojas, .323 (10 for 31), 3 doubles, 1 homer
Max Muncy, .281 (9 for 32), 3 doubles, 1 homer
Miguel Vargas, .280 (7 for 25), 3 doubles, 1 homer
Jorbit Vivas, .278 (5 for 18), 2 doubles
James Outman, .265 (9 for 34), 1 double, 1 triple, 2 homers
Michael Busch, .261 (6 for 23), 1 double, 1 homer
Yonny Hernandez, .250 (7 for 28), 2 doubles, 1 triple
Austin Barnes, .250 (3 for 12), 1 double
Andy Pages, .235 (4 for 17), 1 double
Steven Duggar, .208 (5 for 24), 1 double, 1 homer
J.D. Martinez, .205 (8 for 39), 1 double, 1 homer
Jason Heyward, .200 (7 for 35), 1 double, 2 homers
Mookie Betts, .182 (2 for 11), 2 homers
Luke Williams, .179 (5 for 28), 1 triple, 2 homers
Chris Taylor, .135 (5 for 37), 1 homer
Trayce Thompson, .095 (2 for 21), 1 double
Diego Cartaya, .091 (1 for 11)
David Peralta, .071 (1 for 14)

Andre Jackson, 0.00 ERA (6 IP)
Evan Phillips, 0.00 (5)
Brusdar Graterol, 0.00 (5)
Caleb Ferguson, 0.00 (4.2)
Tony Gonsolin, 0.00 (2.1)
Noah Syndergaard, 0.96 (9.1)
Julio Urías, 1.35 (6.2)
Phil Bickford, 1.59 (5.2)
Ryan Pepiot, 2.00 (9)
Dustin May, 2.13 (12.2)
Jake Reed, 2.70 (6.2)
Adam Kolarek, 3.60 (5)
Alex Vesia, 4.15 (4.1)
Michael Grove, 4.38 (12.1)
Clayton Kershaw, 6.14 (7.1)
Rubby De La Rosa, 6.23 (4.1)
Yency Almonte, 9.00 (2)
Justin Bruihl, 12.00 (3)
Shelby Miller, 12.27 (3.2)
Victor González, 13.50 (3.1)
Jimmy Nelson, 15.43 (2.1)

I don’t put too much stock in spring numbers, particularly for pitchers, because it’s such a small sample size, but it seems to me that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep James Outman off the team. The injury to Gavin Lux opened up a lot of possibilities for the final spot.

Where is Bobby Miller?

Right-hander Bobby Miller is the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect (behind Diego Cartaya) but has not pitched this spring and was sent to the minors last week. But don’t worry. That was the plan all along. The team wanted him in the big league environment for a while but wants to bring him along slowly because he pitched more innings than ever last season (112, compared with 56 in his first season in the minors and a high of 80 in college).

They won’t make the team

The Dodgers sent a few players to the minors last week: catcher Diego Cartaya, infielders Michael Busch, Jorbit Vivas, Jahmai Jones and Eddys Leonard, outfielders Jonny DeLuca and Andy Pages, and pitchers Matt Andriese and Miller.

In case you missed it

Dodgers prospect Gavin Stone making an impact in his first big league camp

Jason Heyward’s swing is a ‘work in progress.’ He’s still a safe bet to make Dodgers roster

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

Brusdar Graterol has the ‘best stuff on the planet.’ So why isn’t he a closer yet?

James Outman is having a breakout spring. Has he done enough to make Dodgers roster?


Dustin May’s mound maturity is improving, even if his cursing is a work in progress

The World Baseball Classic is a success again. But the best U.S. pitchers stayed away

‘They’re gonna get an opportunity.’ Meet the four pitchers leading the Dodgers’ youth movement

And finally

Tommy Lasorda gives his opinion of Dave Kingman‘s performance. Really, really, really not safe for work. In fact, you should probably find a soundproof booth in which to hear this. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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