The Dodgers announced they’ve reinstated Trea Turner from the COVID-19 injured list. He’s not in tonight’s starting lineup, but he could make his team debut off the bench this evening. Reliever Victor González has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 4, with right knee inflammation to open active roster space. To create 40-man roster space, the team has transferred righty Jimmy Nelson to the 60-day injured list. Nelson will undergo Tommy John surgery and a right flexor tendon repair procedure.
Whether tonight or tomorrow, Turner is soon to get into his first game as a Dodger. The All-Star shortstop came over alongside Max Scherzer last week as part of deadline season’s top blockbuster. The 28-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the trade, though, so he’s remained in isolation until today.
Turner adds another elite player to a lineup already chock-full of stars. He’s hitting .322/.369/.521 with eighteen home runs across 420 plate appearances, his second consecutive season of elite offensive output. One of the game’s best baserunners, Turner has also swiped 21 bags, all while playing average or better defense at shortstop. The whole package makes Turner one of the sport’s most valuable position players, although he seems likely to slide over to second base in deference to Corey Seager in L.A. Wherever he plays, Turner should be a massive boon to a Dodger club that trails the league-best Giants by four games in the NL West.
It’s not all positive news on the health front for the Dodgers with Nelson undergoing surgery. While the club didn’t provide a timetable for his return beyond ruling him out for the rest of this season, it seems likely he’ll miss the entire 2022 campaign rehabbing. It’s crushing news for a respected, high-quality pitcher who has been plagued by a series of long-term health issues in recent seasons.
Nelson looked like a potential top-of-the-rotation starter after a stellar 2017 season with the Brewers. A shoulder injury cost him the entire 2018 campaign, though. That kept him out for a good chunk of the 2019 season too, with an elbow injury costing him another month that year. Nelson was ineffective when he was healthy enough to pitch, and Milwaukee non-tendered him at the end of that season.
The Dodgers signed Nelson during the 2019-20 offseason, but a July back surgery prevented him from pitching all year. Los Angeles brought Nelson back on a minor league deal to work in relief, and he made good on his end of that agreement. The 32-year-old pitched to a sterling 1.86 ERA over 29 frames this year, emerging as a potential high-leverage option for manager Dave Roberts. Unfortunately, he landed on the IL with elbow inflammation on Wednesday. That issue apparently requires surgical repair.
Nelson will hit free agency at the end of this season. He could field some multi-year offers from teams with an eye toward the 2023 campaign. Alternatively, Nelson could rehab the injury on his own and look to market himself to clubs after he has returned to health. Either way, it’s a devastating turn of events for a player who has already overcome more than his fair share of health issues.