Dodgers dealt another blow: Dustin May to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss rest of 2021 season

The defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers looked indomitable on paper and started the 2021 season looking the part, winning 13 of their first 15 games while flexing their unmatched depth. 

Yet as their losses on the field have mounted, that depth has been thinned by injury – including a season-ending blow to an emerging force.

Right-hander Dustin May will undergo Tommy John surgery on May 11, the Dodgers announced Monday, sidelining their hardest-throwing starter for this year and most of 2022.

May, 23, exited his Saturday start complaining of elbow pain and an MRI revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, which will be repaired by orthopedist Neal ElAttrache. That will end a season where May looked ready to fulfill long-awaited expectations: He'd struck out 35 batters in 23 innings and posted a 0.96 WHIP. 

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His average fastball velocity of 98.4 mph was second only to Mets ace Jacob deGrom's 98.9 among major leaguers with at least 20 innings pitched. 

But like deGrom and many other hard throwers, May will have a significant detour early in his career to repair a frayed elbow. 

That puts him on the injured list alongside veteran David Price, who began the year working out of the bullpen but injured his hamstring, thinning a pool of potential Dodgers starters that ran seven to nine deep to start the year. 

May reacts after suffering an injury on Saturday against the Brewers. (Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)

Manager Dave Roberts said right-hander Tony Gonsolin, sidelined to start the year with shoulder inflammation, will soon ramp up and be a rotation option in about a month. 

And though they've lost 10 of 14 since their hot start, fret not for the Dodgers: They will still trot out Clayton Kershaw, reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and now, likely, Dennis Santana in what remains baseball's best rotation. 

Yet May was a potent weapon as much as he was a rotation option, who was deployed in myriad roles during their 2020 title run and would have been a flexible shutdown option either as a starter or reliever once the Dodgers, presumably, return to the postseason. 

Instead, he'll be shelved at least through the first half of 2022, not a crippling blow to this juggernaut, but a damaging one nonetheless. 

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