Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
The Los Angeles Dodgers dodged the bullet with Corey Seager’s broken hand. Saturday, a pitch hit Seager’s fifth metacarpal, the bone below his left pinkie, and broke it. No surgery is needed, so Seager will be able to return sooner. Of course, there is no timetable for his return.
Just before Sunday’s game, the Dodgers scratched Chris Taylor with a sore wrist. He should be extremely important when Seager is out. Taylor can play everywhere and has a proven Major-League right-handed bat.
Defensively, the Dodgers have many options to play shortstop in Seager’s absence. Gavin Lux’s natural position is shortstop, and when he plays there, he has made spectacular defensive plays. If Taylor’s wrist becomes less sore, he can play a brilliant shortstop. With either Lux or Taylor playing shortstop, either Sheldon Neuse or Max Muncy can see time at second base. Since both Luke Raley and DJ Peters can play first base, manager Dave Roberts has flexibility with Muncy, who can play first, second, and third base.
Offensively, the Dodgers will dearly miss Seager, particularly with their other injuries. On this current homestand, despite Sunday’s 3-to-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, the Dodgers have ended the offensive funk that plagued them for the last three weeks. For the last seven games, Seager batted .300 with 3 RBI before getting injured. The Dodgers will have difficulty finding an offensive replacement for Seager.
This season, although the Dodgers ended spring training healthy, has been marked by injuries. Since the second series of the season, the Dodgers have not had their projected lineup. Both Cody Bellinger, who has had a small hairline fracture in his fibula, and Zach McKinstry, who has had a strained oblique, are expected to go on a rehabilitation assignment later this week. When they can return to the lineup, the offense will improve.
Saturday, AJ Pollock with a strained hamstring went on the IL. Earlier this week, the Dodgers revealed Edwin Rìos needed season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a partial labrum.
Not only the offense has been hurt, pitching, particularly the bullpen, has been decimated. Dustin May will miss the remainder of the season, and last Tuesday, he underwent successful Tommy John surgery. This past week the Dodgers activated Joe Kelly, who had shoulder surgery to remove cysts in November. After a bad outing, Kelly has been brilliant in two appearances.
Tony Gonsolin, who is trying to build up sufficient arm strength to be the Dodger fifth starter, is weeks away. No one knows when Brusdar Graterol will return to the Dodger bullpen. While Corey Knebel swears he will pitch again in the 2021 season, he is rehabilitating his lat muscle.
Monday, the Dodgers probably will activate pitcher David Price, and rumors say the Dodgers will finalize their deal with future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols. The utility fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo should be activated Monday. While he struggled with the Tampa Bay Rays, he was a professional hitter in Japan.
With thirteen players on the IL, the Dodger depth has been tested. They are only two games behind the San Francisco Giants. If they can keep within five games of first place in the National League Western Division, the Dodgers should be able to win their division when they get some of their injured players back.