Although the injury picture of the Dodgers isn’t quite as bad as it was earlier in the first-half of the year, there have been some instances recently when it has bitten the team in terms of performance, especially considering defensive play like that on Saturday evening at third base.
However, Justin Turner seems to be back on track and will most likely appear in the Los Angeles starting lineup in the finale at Milwaukee on Sunday. Turner has been battling problems with his right hip and hasn’t been in the squad’s starting lineup since July 11. The 33-year-old veteran says that he’s fine swinging the bat, but fielding ground balls created most of the discomfort. He appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Saturday night’s contest.
“I’m fine swinging. Took ground balls on Friday, felt pretty good,” Turner explained. “I can run to a certain point and keep it in control, but I hurt it on a check swing, and that’s probably the one box that is kind of hard to check off without taking an at-bat. Just trying to continue to keep progressing and go day by day.”
Furthermore, the club may be in store for another upgrade defensively with the return of right fielder Yasiel Puig, who conceivably could return in Atlanta when the Dodgers open a four-game set against the Braves on Thursday. Puig has been on the shelf since July 9 with a right oblique strain.
“Our goal is the Atlanta series,” manager Dave Roberts said ahead of Saturday’s contest in Milwaukee. “That’s the plan. Whether that stays the course depends on how he feels.”
Consequently, the bullpen may be in line for a few reinforcements sometime in the foreseeable future. as a trio of relievers—Pedro Baez, Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani—appear to be progressing in their respective recoveries.
Baez, who has been sidelined with tendinitis in his biceps since June 15, is farthest ahead of the group. The righty threw in another successful rehab appearance at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday and may be activated for the series in Philadelphia, which begins on Monday.
“Baez was going up to 96,” Roberts added. “It felt good. We’re just going to continue to make sure he can go one-plus, potentially a back-to-back situation. At any point in time now, Pedro will be ready to join us.”
Baez’s prospective return comes during a time when the Dodgers are believed to be pursuing one or two relief additions, as the non-waiver trade deadline will hit its seven-day window at the beginning of the week.
Stephen Cohn of MLB.com also reported that young southpaw Julio Urias has been throwing full steam ahead and, according to Roberts, will probably throw batting practice when the team arrives in Philadelphia.
“We’re encouraged, Hopefully he checks that box and continues to ramp up. When he’s active on an affiliate, I don’t know when that is, but this is a big step for him to face hitter.”