Little, if anything, has gone right for the Los Angeles Dodgers through 11 games in September. A losing streak that began at the end of August has reached 10 games, and the team has dropped 15 of their last 16 contests.
But expanded rosters during final month of the regular season creates an opportunity for prospects and Minor Leaguers who otherwise would need to continue waiting for a chance to join a big league roster. The Dodgers made multiple waves of call-ups, with the first including top prospect Alex Verdugo.
He started in each of his first four games with the Dodgers, including a doubleheader at Petco Park. Verdugo has yet to start in any of his four games played since that point, however.
On Sunday, he pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth and went opposite field for his first career home run. Delivering in that capacity served as a confidence booster for the 21-year-old, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:
Being able to deliver as a pinch hitter Sunday “gives me more confidence to know that I can come out, pinch hit, and as long as I get myself ready and do what I need to do beforehand, I can come off the bench and help the team out.”
Verdugo is 3-for-15 with the one home run and RBI, two walks and three strikeouts in his eight games with the Dodgers. There was some thought he’d compete for a spot on the Dodgers postseason roster, but that possibility appears to have cooled.
Vedurgo batted .314/.389/.436 with 27 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 62 RBI in 117 games this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He garnered trade interest at the non-waiver deadline, but Verdugo was among the players refused to part with.