With just two regular-season games remaining on the docket, there aren’t any critical injuries for the Dodgers that may play a part in the 2019 postseason, but there are a few lingering ailments worth keeping an eye on.
A.J. Pollock was hit on the knee by a pitch in the fifth inning on Friday and was immediately pulled from the game after limping to first base. The early diagnosis was a simple bruise. Skipper Dave Roberts said that he would hold Pollock out of Saturday’s middle game against the Giants; however, he sees no problem with Pollock returning for the season finale on Sunday.
After a bit of a hamstring scare on Thursday and being held out of the lineup on Friday, Corey Seager appeared to be fine in Friday’s opener in San Francisco. At the plate, he went 1-for-4 and recorded his 19th home run of the season. It wouldn’t be surprising not to see Seager in either Saturday or Sunday’s games if only as a precaution.
The team still has not revealed what has been ailing reliever Joe Kelly. The hard-throwing righty has not appeared in a game since September 18. He threw a bullpen session on Friday evening, prompting Roberts to comment on his condition.
“It was really good,” Roberts stated regarding Kelly’s bullpen. “We got out of it what we wanted, just kind of the intensity. The command wasn’t where it needs to be, we expected that. Shape of breaking ball, letting the fastball go, the changeup, using whole mix. Really encouraging.”
Kelly is expected to make an appearance on Sunday.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Roberts also said Rich Hill will start Sunday with a target of three innings. The skipper still would not rule out Hill’s chance of making the postseason roster as a reliever or an “opening” type of option. The veteran lefty’s bullpen on Friday went extremely well.
“Today was the best he’s thrown the baseball, including the games,” Roberts said. “It was electric today.”
Now dealing with stiffness in his back, Justin Turner missed his third consecutive game on Friday. Roberts has reported improvement, though, indicating JT’s absence could be more precautionary than anything else.
“He’s taking a regular day of pregame practice,” Roberts explained. “The hope is to get him back in there tomorrow, but I’ll lean on Justin and the training staff, and if not it’ll be Sunday.”
While Alex Verdugo has officially been ruled out of the NLDS, there’s still a sliver of a chance he could play in the NLCS, should the team advance that far. Still, without logging any actual game time, it could be a struggle for the youngster to battle his way back on the roster this year.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Verdugo said this week. “I love to play. This is my happy place. I’ve always been like that, even when I was a kid. No matter what happened outside the field, I could go out there between the lines and nothing mattered.”