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Dodgers rotation injury concerns continue with righty Emmet Sheehan set to start season on injured list

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are now less than two weeks away from opening Major League Baseball’s regular season with a two-game set against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea. Alas, the National League West favorites may have already suffered a loss in their rotation. On Saturday, the Dodgers said that right-hander Emmet Sheehan will begin the season on the injured list because of shoulder soreness that has limited his availability throughout the exhibition season, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.

Sheehan, 24, entered spring training considered the favorite to claim the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation. He appeared in 13 games last season, starting 11 of them and compiling a 4.92 ERA (89 ERA+) and a 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Unfortunately for Sheehan, he’s yet to make his spring debut because of shoulder woes. He was even shut down for a week, although he’s since resumed his throwing program.

While Sheehan had been unlikely to pitch during the Seoul series, it’s now fair to wonder about his availability for the onset of the regular season. Pitchers generally require at least three or four weeks to ramp up. If everything goes smoothly for Sheehan — no further delays or setbacks — that would put him on the bubble for making his first scheduled start on April 1. Given Sheehan’s promise, the Dodgers may well err on the side of caution and give him additional time to get into shape.

Such a development would likely result in Gavin Stone or Ryan Yarbrough opening the season as Los Angeles’ fifth starter.

The Dodgers are likely to hold their breath on injury-related matters all season. They were one of the most injury-prone teams in the majors last year, and they’re already down Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. (That’s without mentioning Shohei Ohtani or top prospect Nick Frasso, neither of whom will pitch this season after undergoing arm surgeries.) It doesn’t help matters that Los Angeles’ rotation includes Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who’ll need to adjust to the MLB throwing schedule; Tyler Glasnow and James Paxton, both prone to missing chunks of the season; and second-year right-hander Bobby Miller, who set a new career-high in innings pitched last year with 138 combined frames.

In other words, even if Sheehan misses the minimal amount of time to begin the season, expect the Dodgers rotation to be victim to disruptions all year long.

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