After a prolonged stretch of good health, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been snakebit by the injury bug of late. It began with Corey Seager suffering a hamstring strain, then losing Rich Hill to a flexor strain in his left forearm, and now David Freese because of hamstring trouble.
It was just two weeks ago that right knee tendinitis prevented Freese from starting against a southpaw in the Freeway Series opener. He was then unavailable in Saturday’s walk-off win against the Colorado Rockies due to lingering knee trouble.
However, Freese was formally placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring. “He’s been dealing with that tendinitis in his knee, and obviously as a byproduct the hamstring has kind of gone south,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“It’s something we can manage, so to backdate it, we’re hopeful that when he’s eligibility is up he’ll be active.”
Freese’s IL stint is retroactive to Friday, making Sunday, June 30 the earliest he can be activated. Including that day, the Dodgers will have just seven games remaining before the All-Star break.
The veteran infielder admitted to some challenges in adjusting to a role as a pinch-hitter and quasi-platoon player, but Freese has excelled. In 56 games (28 starts), he’s hit .308/.407/.592 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI.
“I think they’re all tough, obviously, but David is a tough loss in the sense of his at-bat against a lefty, off the bench the presence he has,” Roberts said. “But I think that fortunately, where we’re at, we have a luxury right now of not putting him in harms way to make sure he’s ready for the stretch run.”
The advantage Roberts referenced is both organizational depth and the Dodgers’ 13-game lead in the National League West entering after another walk-off win Sunday. “Fortunately we’ve put ourselves in position where we don’t need to push players,” Roberts said.
“We can push starters back, if a guy is ailing or sore, we can give him a day off. Freese, in his situation could probably get through it but to be able to backdate a few days and buy him some time to get back to close to 100%, it’s a no-brainer right now.”
In the interim, the Dodgers recalled Will Smith from Triple-A Oklahoma City to give them added flexibility with utilizing Austin Barnes and Russell Martin, and Joc Pederson will continue to receive regular starts at first base during Freese’s absence.