The Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Monday, although there was one negative on the day as Alex Verdugo was scratched from the lineup due to back soreness.
This is the second time in the last week that Verdugo has been scratched — the first instance was a result of left knee soreness. Though, Verdugo has previously been bothered by back trouble this season.
While the recurring injury could be cause for concern, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts maintained Verdugo’s back issue is minor. “I definitely don’t think it’s severe,” Roberts said.
“It’s something with where we’re at, to think about putting him in jeopardy at all, to make it a longer issue, we’re just trying to guard against that. He came in today and felt good but started getting loose and it didn’t loosen up the way we wanted it to.
“The way Negrón is playing, to have him in there against Wacha and play center field, I feel good about it. Also it gives us an extra day for Alex.”
Roberts added that he doesn’t anticipate Verdugo requiring a stint on the injured list. “That could change but right now, where we’re at, I think a day of just staying away from him is a benefit.”
Whether it be Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, or others in the organization the last handful of years, herniated discs are something that has plagued the Dodgers. Roberts ruled out that being the case for Verdugo though.
“I don’t think it’s a disc, I think it’s more muscular,” he explained.
Verdugo has been a key contributor for the Dodgers in his first full Major League season. Having a division lead as big as Los Angeles does affords them the luxury of giving him as much time as necessary to get healthy with the stretch run of the season just around the corner.
In 106 games this season, Verdugo is hitting .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI while also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense throughout the outfield.
Should Verdugo’s condition improve by the time he arrives to the stadium on Tuesday, it’s plausible that will amount to a return to the lineup. However, the Dodgers may just as well continue to err on the side of caution, as they continue to do with A.J. Pollock nursing groin tightness.