In what was supposed to be his first full Major League season, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles was robbed of the opportunity as he suffered a torn ACL in May 2017, ending his season.
Toles worked extremely hard to get healthy for this season, and in December said that he was feeling healthy and would be ready for the start of Spring Training.
While Toles is considered full strength and expected to compete for the starting job in left field this spring, it appears the Dodgers will be extra cautious with the 25-year-old.
According to Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, Toles will be eased into matters this spring:
“The medical staff wants to really take it a little bit slower and be methodical about it,” Roberts said. “Which is smart. Obviously, for me, I want to get him out there once games start and see him, and get him some at-bats. But he’s got some catching up to do, as far as at-bats.
“So he might get a lot of at-bats on the [minor-league] side once they start going, just so he can kind of catch up. But I’m excited to get him out there as soon as possible, to get him acclimated again.”
Which means Toles will be “a tick” limited this spring, Roberts said. “But not far behind the rest of the group.”
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi previously expressed excitement over having Toles back in the picture.
The 2016 season was a special one for Toles, as he tore his way through three Minor League levels before making his MLB debut. He hit .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 48 games, and earned starts in the postseason.
Toles then came back the following year and proved his first experience in the Majors was not a fluke, hitting .271/.314/.458 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games before going down with the injury.
If he can get back to that type of production, in addition to playing above-average defense in the outfield, then Toles has to be considered the favorite to land the starting left field job over the likes of Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo.