Jon Garland’s strained oblique muscle was confirmed today by an MRI exam and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that he’ll be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, meaning he’ll begin the season on the disabled list.
Coming into spring training the Dodgers had impressive pitching depth, but now Garland is out until at least late April and his would-be replacement, Vicente Padilla, is recovering from forearm surgery and may be out even longer.
Garland joined the Dodgers on a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason. Not only will the oblique injury hurt his chances of reaching the $3.5 million in incentives based on innings, his contract also includes an $8 million option for 2012 that vests if he throws 190 innings and is not on the disabled list in September.
Garland has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, topping 190 innings in nine straight seasons, but even a few missed starts would make reaching that mark (and triggering the option) in a 10th consecutive year unlikely. Gurnick points to John Ely and Tim Redding as the most likely options to replace Garland in the Opening Day rotation.