The Dodgers’ pitching staff might have suffered another major blow Friday night.
In the eighth inning of the team’s 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves, reliever Daniel Hudson suffered a potentially season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury, manager Dave Roberts said, after his left knee buckled while he moved to field a ground ball in front of the mound.
While the team won’t have an official diagnosis until Hudson gets scans on his knee later this weekend, Roberts said the early indication from a manual exam is that the ligament is torn, which would effectively end his season.
“It doesn’t look good from all indications,” Roberts said. “Things can happen, but I just don’t see how it’s not the end of his season. So it’s potentially a huge loss for us.”
Hudson had been one of the Dodgers’ most dependable relievers, entering Friday with a 2.25 ERA.
“To not have him with us, there’s an exponential effect to our ballclub,” Roberts said. “But we got to move forward.”
Roberts said after the game he briefly spoke with Hudson, who appeared to be in significant pain on the field and had to be assisted back to the clubhouse.
“Tried to console him a little bit,” Roberts said. “[He was] obviously emotional. So, you know, it wasn’t much of a conversation.”
Hudson, 35, signed with the Dodgers during the offseason and had served as their de facto setup man, providing stability to a bullpen that already was missing Blake Treinen and Tommy Kahnle to long-term injuries, has received inconsistent performances from closer Craig Kimbrel and is relying on more inexperienced pitchers.
Roberts said it was too early to know how the Dodgers would handle setup situations in Hudson’s absence.
“We’ve got some good candidates,” he said. “But guys are gonna get some opportunities to fill that void.”
Heaney goes back on IL
The Dodgers announced more bad news for their pitching staff before Friday’s game, putting Andrew Heaney on the injured list because of a recurrence of a left shoulder injury.
After Heaney missed two months because of left shoulder inflammation, Roberts said the left-hander sustained a shoulder strain following a bullpen session Thursday. Heaney will be shut down from throwing for a few days, according to Roberts, but the team is hopeful he isn’t facing another long absence.
“I don’t foresee it being long,” Roberts said, adding that Heaney might miss only a couple of starts.
A free-agent signing this past winter, Heaney has made only three starts for the Dodgers. He began the season with consecutive scoreless outings before going on the IL for the first time in mid-April.
He returned to the mound Sunday against the Cleveland Guardians and gave up two runs, one earned, in a five-inning, 77-pitch start, taking a no-decision in the Dodgers’ loss.
During his bullpen session Thursday, however, Heaney “felt some achiness, soreness in his shoulder,” Roberts said, adding that while the strain is the same injury that hampered the pitcher earlier this season, the team doesn’t believe this flare-up is as severe.
“It’s a little worrisome, a little frustrating, more for Andrew because he did a lot to get back to that point,” Roberts said. “But it’s where we’re at. So our job now and his job is to do whatever we can to get him back on the mound as soon as we can.”