After Saturday evening’s come-from-behind, walk-off victory against the Phillies, many who are close to the Dodgers, including skipper Dave Roberts himself, believe that the monumental win has potentially infused a bit of momentum, and conceivably could be the one contest that may spearhead a new direction for the squad.
“I don’t know where this is going to take us, but sometimes in a season you look back at certain nights, at certain games that you can point to that the team gained some traction and turn things around,” Roberts said after the game. “This might be that day.”
What’s more, the Dodgers may be in line to receive another series of energetic jolts from a surplus of player reinforcements, starting with Joc Pederson, Logan Forsythe and Franklin Gutierrez sometime next week.
Pederson has been running fine despite having suffered a mild groin strain just over a week ago. Forsythe, who has been battling a broken right toe, appears to be progressing nicely, but may have some lingering episodes of pain, in which case he and the trainers will carefully need to manage his level of participation. Both Pederson and Forsythe appear to be on the exact same schedule, and may play simultaneously in a rehab game for High-A Rancho Cucamonga during the middle of the coming week.
Recovering from a strained hamstring, lefty killer Franklin Gutierrez may be a few ticks ahead of Pederson and Forsythe. The 34-year-old veteran outfielder made his first official rehab assignment for Rancho on Saturday against Lancaster, going 1-for-2 with a two-run home run, a walk, and two runs scored. Roberts hinted that Gutierrez could be activated as early as Tuesday, setting up a possible start against San Francisco southpaw Matt Moore.
Veteran starter Rich Hill may also be close to returning after throwing a successful sim game on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. According to Roberts, Hill threw 48 pitches and all was satisfactory.
“From my eyes, he looked good.” Roberts commented on Saturday.
Hill’s next step is to throw in a rehab start for Rancho on Thursday, which may coincidentally coincide with the appearances of Pederson and Forsythe. The 37-year-old lefty has been on the shelf after a blister resurfaced on his throwing finger on April 16.
Speaking of lefty starters, Scott Kazmir has been in the dugout supporting his club during the weekend series against Philadelphia after being called upon to to throw a monitored bullpen session for pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. On the disabled list since Opening Day with a hip injury, Kaz says that he’s made plenty of progress. Still, even with the smooth throwing sessions, there doesn’t appear to be an official rehab start scheduled anytime in the near future.
In contrast, the news hasn’t been so good for fan-favorite Andre Ethier, who also has been on the disabled list since the start of the season. His herniated disc, which was once thought to be on the mild side, has prevented him from taking part in any types of baseball activities, outside of a bit of minimal jogging. Roberts said there’s no specific timetable for Ethier’s return, noting that the best guesstimate may be sometime in the beginning of June, at the earliest.
“The time that it’s taken, at this point, it’s almost like he’ll need a spring training again,” Roberts explained. “So if you look at the progression of a player trying to get his body back into shape, get the at-bats to feel comfortable to get in that rhythm, I’m not saying it needs to be a dedicated six weeks. But from the time of baseball activity, it’s easily fair to say it’ll take a month after that.”
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