Dodgers rookie Tony Gonsolin’s reward for a stellar outing is a ticket back to minors

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin was sharp against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Tony Gonsolin dazzled over six scoreless innings in his Dodger Stadium debut Monday. On Tuesday, he was a minor leaguer again.

The Dodgers optioned the right-hander to triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday as part of a cluster of roster moves. It was not unexpected. Gonsolin took Hyun-Jin Ryu’s spot in the rotation, Ryu’s return from the injured list was impending and the Dodgers want Gonsolin to continue starting every five days.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that Ryu, out since Friday with a sore neck, will start Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ryu, 32, has posted a league-leading 1.53 ERA — nearly a run better than anyone else — in 135 2/3 innings. The workload is his heaviest since 2014.


In the meantime, left-hander Caleb Ferguson was recalled from Oklahoma City to give the Dodgers an extra reliever.

Roberts said Gonsolin will return to Oklahoma City as a starting pitcher and is slated to make his next start Monday. But he acknowledged Gonsolin remains an option to pitch out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in October.

MLB Players’ Weekend will be back the weekend of Aug. 23-25, when players will be able to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys.

Aug. 6, 2019

“I could see him in both roles,” Roberts said. “The rubber’s going to meet the road here in about less than a couple weeks. We got to figure out which direction we go with all these guys. But right now you still want to keep guys built up just to guard against a potential injury from somebody.”

Gonsolin, 25, was almost exclusively a reliever as a professional until last season. It is experience the Dodgers could tap into to bolster their bullpen in the postseason. But Gonsolin’s stock soared when his role shifted. He put his potential on display Monday, limiting the St. Louis Cardinals to two hits and a walk across six innings in his third major league appearance.

It was Gonsolin’s best outing at any level this season, which has been hindered by various injuries. His six innings and 90 pitches were season highs. He owns a 4.95 ERA in 36 1/3 innings in 12 starts for Oklahoma City. He returns to the minors, perhaps for a brief period, firmly on the Dodgers’ radar.

“With Tony, everything’s in play,” Roberts said. “I think part of it is it’s been such an abbreviated year for him because of his injuries and so, not to say it’s a lost year, but you want to make it as productive a season for him as possible, as far as innings pitched.”