Dodgers closer Evan Phillips put on 15-day injured list

The return of veteran setup man Blake Treinen on Sunday was dampened by the loss of an even more important Dodgers reliever as closer Evan Phillips was placed on the 15-day injured list because of a right hamstring strain before the series finale against the Atlanta Braves.

Manager Dave Roberts said Phillips, who converted all eight of his save opportunities and had an 0.66 ERA in his first 14 games, caught a spike in the turf while playing catch before Saturday night’s game. An MRI test revealed a Grade I, or minor, strain, and Phillips joined fellow relievers Brusdar Graterol and Ryan Brasier on the IL.

“It was just a freak and random [injury], sort of like how Brasier was running sprints and blew out his calf — a little bit of bad luck,” Roberts said of Phillips, who went on the IL for the first time in his three seasons with the Dodgers. “It’s very benign, and the hope is that once his [IL] stint is up, he’ll be back and ready to go.”

Right-handers Joe Kelly, Daniel Hudson and Treinen and left-hander Alex Vesia will be candidates to pitch the ninth inning, but when asked who his closer will be in Phillips’ absence, Roberts said, “I honestly don’t even know.

“We’ll see. I think it will be more of just managing the game and figuring out the leverage of the game and however the ninth inning falls out. We’ll just sort of try to win every inning and just manage the leverage.”

The addition of Treinen, who missed most of the past two seasons because of shoulder injuries and suffered broken ribs when he was hit by a line drive in an early March exhibition game, could ease the loss of Phillips.

Treinen, 35, went 6-5 with a 1.99 ERA in 72 games of his last full season in 2021, striking out 85 and walking 25 in 72 ⅓ innings as closer Kenley Jansen’s setup man, and his stuff looked good before his setback.

“I was very encouraged,” Roberts said of Treinen’s performance this spring. “The stuff was where it needed to be to be an effective high-leverage reliever. The bet was as he continued to build up, it would get to where we had seen in past years, and we feel with the adrenaline of being in this environment, there’s going to be an uptick too.”

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