Dodgers’ Dustin May to have Tommy John surgery

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — Dustin May got an MRI on and that was it. His season was over.

May will have Tommy John surgery next week, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers without one of baseball’s top young pitchers for the rest of their title defense.

“It’s a big blow,” manager Dave Roberts said before the team’s series opener against the Cubs was postponed because of inclement weather in the forecast. “But we’ve got a lot of talented players, and we just got to find a way to fill that void.”

The 23-year-old May was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday, a day after the right-hander winced in pain on the mound and was forced to leave a start at Milwaukee.

The World Series champion Dodgers, already beset by several injuries to their pitching staff, said Dr. Neal El Attrache will perform May’s ligament reconstruction surgery on May 11 in Los Angeles.

“It’s obviously very disappointing,” Roberts said. “He’s handling it like a pro. You know, wants to figure out what’s the next step after surgery and kind of attack it that way.”

May threw just 27 pitches before leaving Saturday’s 11-inning loss to Milwaukee. After his final pitch, May reacted with obvious discomfort, took a few steps and called for attention.

He was 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in five starts this season. He has a career mark of 6-5 with a 2.93 ERA in 31 appearances, including 19 starts, since making his debut in August 2019.

Last year, May pitched seven times in the postseason, including twice in the World Series against Tampa Bay. He made three starts for short stints in the earlier rounds of the NL playoffs.

“When you’re developing and now you get the year cut short, that impacts development,” Roberts said. “What Dustin has done is he’s just matured more as a major league ballplayer.”

May joins a crowd of Dodgers pitchers on the injured list that also includes Caleb Ferguson (left elbow surgery), Tony Gonsolin (right shoulder inflammation), Brusdar Graterol (right forearm tightness), Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John surgery), Joe Kelly (shoulder inflammation), Corey Knebel (right lat strain) and David Price (right hamstring strain).

Graterol, a hard-throwing reliever, will get some imaging done on Tuesday, Roberts said.

The Dodgers still have one of the majors’ best rotations, with NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias.

Roberts said the team is considering having Bauer work every four days, something the pitcher has wanted to try in the past. Gonsolin also is being built up as a starter.

Kershaw and Bauer will pitch when Los Angeles makes up the postponement with a split doubleheader against Chicago on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks will face Kershaw in Game 1, and the Cubs did not announce their starter for the second game.

In another move, the Dodgers also claimed right-hander Phil Bickford off waivers from Milwaukee.

Bickford made one appearance for Milwaukee this season, allowing two runs in one inning during an 8-0 loss to Miami last week. He was designated for assignment on Wednesday.

Bickford, a Ventura, California, native, was selected by San Francisco in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft. He made his big league debut on Sept. 1, allowing four runs in one inning for the Brewers against Detroit.

“I know he’s a LA County kid,” Roberts said. “I know it’s a really good fastball. It’s a (changeup) in there. … I know he’s happy to be a Dodger.”

Robert said Bickford is heading to the team’s alternate site in Arizona. Left-hander James Pazos is expected to join the big league club.

The Dodgers designated lefty Mike Kickham for assignment to create room for Bickford. In his only appearance so far this season, Kickham was charged with three runs in two innings Sunday at Milwaukee.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.