Dodgers Injury Update: Max Muncy’s Oblique Strain Considered Mild

The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed back Jason Heyward from a lengthy stint on the 10-day injured list but lost Max Muncy to a right oblique strain that has created an opportunity on the roster for Miguel Vargas.

Muncy went through fielding drills before the series opener against the Cincinnati Reds before feeling a pull in his oblique during batting practice. That kept him out of the Dodgers lineup and Muncy did not appear as a pinch-hitter.

“Happened [Thursday] during batting practice,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He felt it on a swing, just kind of grab a little bit. So he cut his batting practice short. Wasn’t scheduled to play [Thursday] anyway and had an MRI this morning, and it showed a mild strain. Grade 1.

“I think we got ahead of it. So certainly an IL as far as giving him a handful of days to recover. I’m sure he’s not going to swing a bat for two or three days, and then the hope is he’ll be back online on the 11th day.”

Although Roberts is optimistic with Muncy’s timeline, an oblique injury is one that can easily linger and require a lengthy recovery period. Muncy did miss just the minimum 10 days with a right oblique strain during the 2021 season, but limited the number of swings he would take during batting practice in effort to avoid a setback upon returning.

Muncy is the 15th different player the Dodgers have placed on the IL this season and is sidelined for the first time in 2024. He last was in the lineup on Wednesday, going 0-for-3 with one RBI and two strikeouts in the Dodgers’ loss to the San Francisco Giants.

After hitting a career-best three home runs against the Atlanta Braves on May 4, Muncy went just 3-for-32 with one double, one home run, six RBI, three walks and 13 strikeouts over his last nine games.

Overall this season, Muncy is batting .223/.323/.475 with eight doubles, with nine home runs, 26 RBI and a 123 wRC+ in 40 games.

Although Vargas joined the Dodgers roster in Muncy’s place, Roberts said the team plans to rely on a combination of Miguel Rojas and Kiké Hernández at third base. Hernández received the start on Friday, his eighth at third base this season. Rojas has made just three starts at third base so far in 2024.

Vargas, who switched to playing left field this season, will receive his opportunities there while up with the Dodgers.

Max Muncy’s defense

After struggling defensively throughout most of 2023, Muncy spent the offseason working to improve at third base. He’s still been subject to some lapses but overall been improved and earned the praise of Roberts.

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