While there hasn’t been an overwhelming number of injuries so far for the Dodgers during this shortened season, the few that we have seen have definitely had significant impacts on the landscape of the roster.
Staff ace Clayton Kershaw’s opening day back stiffness opened the door for Dustin May to join the rotation, and the young righty hasn’t looked back since. Of course, there’s plenty for May to improve upon moving forward, but his performances over his five starts this year certainly have been serviceable in terms of major league standards. At this stage of the season, it looks like that May is in the big league rotation to stay. Alongside the Kershaw we used to know from years past—in addition to a re-emerging Walker Buehler—the Los Angeles rotation theoretically might be peaking at the perfect time.
The same can be said for the neck soreness of Will Smith. The long-awaited debut of 22-year-old backstop Keibert Ruiz resulted from Smith’s absence, which allowed fans to view on their televisions a historic long ball off the bat of Ruiz in his very first big-league AB.
Nevertheless, the injury picture is improving for the Dodgers, specifically the health of Smith. It has been reported that Smith might be returning to the starting lineup as soon as Sunday, as he was working out without restraints at the alternative training site on Friday. Should he show no ill effects through Saturday, he’ll probably get the green light to return to the major league roster.
Alex Wood may also be close to returning to the club as well, which could conceivably create a logjam in the starting rotation, unless the team decides to shift him back to the bullpen. Wood is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Monday, which happens to be an off day for the team. He came out of Tuesday’s three-inning sim game looking good, and if all goes well early next week, he might be activated soon thereafter.
While there hasn’t been much news surrounding the health of Joe Kelly’s shoulder, the right-handed reliever has gotten plenty of publicity from his altercation with the Astros, as several players around the league have been very vocal in supporting him, particularly expressing their disdain behind the unfairness of his suspension.
Either way, once Kelly is cleared to return, he’ll need to serve a five-game suspension for his actions, which was reduced from a ridiculous eight-game shelving.
On Thursday, Pedro Baez was sent to the injured list with a strained right groin, giving righty Reliever Josh Sborz the opportunity to join the big league squad. Baez’s injury could have something to do with his recent struggles, as he’s allowed four runs over his past three innings while experiencing a noticeable dip in velocity.
Utility man Edwin Rios continues to improve from a strained hamstring and may be activated on Thursday, the first day he’s eligible to return from the injured list.