The Los Angeles Dodgers could be without a key member of their rotation to begin the season. On Friday, manager Dave Roberts said it will be a "slow process" to build up right-hander Tony Gonsolin following his recent ankle injury, per The Athletic. Gonsolin sprained his left ankle during pitcher's fielding practice this past Monday.

"It was just a random freak thing. It wasn't even in the act of fielding a ground ball or anything," Roberts told MLB.com following Gonsolin's injury. The Dodgers have not completely ruled Gonsolin out for Opening Day, though he is running short on time to properly build up for the regular season. Expect the club to be cautious rather than rush things.

Gonsolin, 28, missed time with shoulder inflammation in 2021 and a forearm strain in 2022, limiting him to only 186 big league innings the last two years. He was excellent when healthy though, including posting a 2.14 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 24 starts and 130 1/3 innings -- a career high -- in 2022. That earned Gonsolin an All-Star Game selection.

Los Angeles lost Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney to free agency this past offseason, plus Walker Buehler will miss most if not all of 2023 with his second career Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers did not do much to replace that pitching depth. Their rotation depth chart currently looks something like this:

  1. LHP Julio Urías
  2. LHP Clayton Kershaw
  3. RHP Tony Gonsolin (out with an ankle injury)
  4. RHP Noah Syndergaard
  5. RHP Dustin May
  6. RHP Ryan Pepiot
  7. RHP Michael Grove

Kershaw remains excellent on a per-inning basis, though he has not thrown as many as 130 innings in a season since 2019 because of injuries and the pandemic. May is entering his first full season back from Tommy John surgery and will be on a plan to limit and control his workload. Pepiot, Grove, and top pitching prospect Bobby Miller will be important depth pieces in 2023.

The Dodgers suffered a much more significant injury earlier this spring when starting shortstop Gavin Lux stumbled while running the bases and tore ligaments in his right knee. He required surgery and will miss the entire season. Miguel Rojas, who was brought in to be a utility player, will take over at shortstop

Between injuries (Buehler, Lux, etc.) and free agent departures (Anderson, Heaney, Cody Bellinger, Trea Turner, etc.), the Dodgers look more vulnerable now than they have at any point in the last 10 years. FanGraphs projects them as an 88-win team this year.

Last season, Los Angeles won 111 games and finished with the National League's best record since 1906. They were eliminated by the NL West rival San Diego Padres in four games in the NLCS, however.