In case you missed Saturday’s column, the main concept of the story was how the Dodgers will conceivably upgrade their active roster after this year’s trade deadline, even if front office boss Andrew Friedman elects not to make a major splash as far as blockbuster deals go.
We speculated how the returns of David Freese, Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock will affect the performance of the team’s daily lineup. Additionally, we discussed the prospective return of southpaw reliever Scott Alexander, and even though he’ll provide some much needed experience and depth, he won’t be an overwhelming improvement to the existing relief crew.
Today, we’ll outline exactly when fans can expect to see some of these players returning to the team.
Skipper Dave Roberts said that Freese is expected to return next week before the All-Star break after suffering a mild hamstring strain. The 36-year-old veteran is hitting .308/.407/.592 on the season with eight homers, 30 runs and 23 RBI over 120 AB.
Against left-handers this year, Freese is hitting .257 (18-for-70) with four home runs and eight RBI. He’s actually performing much better against righties, going 19-for-50 (.380) with four homers and 15 RBI. As a pinch-hitter this year, Freese has gone an impressive 9-for-21 with one long ball and four doubles. More importantly, he provides a huge presence on the bench in terms of player guidance and leadership. He’s eligible to return during the short, two-game set at home against Arizona that concludes on Wednesday.
Although it’s been well over two weeks that Seager has hit the injury list, he’s certainly beginning to show some signs of progress. Earlier this week, he was seen taking grounders in the infield and should be ready for a rehab assignment soon. The 25-year-old shortstop has expressed an interest in spending the All-Star break either at Camelback Ranch or with a minor league affiliate putting the finishing touches on his recovery.
Seager was on fire offensively before his hamstring injury occurred on June 11. In the 18 games before his placement on the IL, he slashed an impressive .397/.461/.721 with 10 doubles, four homers and 18 RBI over 76 PA. Furthermore, he was often placed much lower in the batting order, extending the lineup even more. Without question, his strong defensive presence up the middle has been missed tremendously.
In addition to his forearm issue, Alexander is dealing with a thumb issue. Both injuries are believed to be on the minor side, but they were still significant enough to keep the lefty on the shelf since June 11. He’s expected to return to the squad sometime right after the All-Star break, possibly joining his teammates for the series in Boston beginning on July 12.
Even though Pollock was recently moved to the 60-day injured list to create a 40-man spot for reliever Zac Rosscup, the move is retroactive to late April when he was initially placed on the IL. He is progressing in a recovery that sidelined him after he underwent surgery in his elbow to remove metal hardware. An infection ensued, and a PICC line was inserted in his left arm to deliver a steady stream of antibiotics.
Like Seager, Pollock will likely spend the All-Star break rehabbing in some shape or form and expects to return to the team sometime shortly thereafter.
Despite the fact that a flexor tendon strain is often a warning sign of UCL damage, veteran southpaw Rich Hill is still confident he’ll be able to contribute to his team’s success at some point this season.
“I think I’ll be able to pitch again this season, definitely, but when that is, I don’t have that answer,” Hill said recently. “There wasn’t anything that was indicative of a UCL [ulnar collateral ligament] tear, which was good, but it’s going to take some time to heal.”
Hill was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 20, one day after an early exit against division rival San Francisco. After missing the first several weeks of the 2019 season with a knee injury, he has made just 10 starts for the Dodgers this year, going 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA while gathering 61 strikeouts over an even 53 innings of work.
Looking deeper down the list of injuries, lefty reliever Tony Cingrani underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in early June and will miss the remainder of the season.