The Los Angeles Dodgers snapped a two-game losing streak with their 6-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, but it came at a cost, as Will Smith exited the contest in the fifth inning due to a neck injury.
“There was a collision in San Diego and there’s a little bit of remnants from that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s been good, and came in saying he felt as good as he has in the past week. Then he fielded that bunt and it kind of locked up on him a little bit.”
As Roberts alluded to, Smith first tweaked his neck in last week’s opener against the Padres at Petco Park. The 25-year-old was involved in a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr., who ran into a double play after attempting to score on Manny Machado’s line drive to right field.
Smith is considered day-to-day, and Barnes will get the start behind home plate in Thursday’s series finale. The two have been sharing time at catcher this season, although Smith recently became the first Dodgers backstop to start in back-to-back games.
“I just think he’s got his legs under him. Both catchers do now, so you can kind of start to ramp it up a little bit more as far as workload with Will,” Roberts explained this week. “As it stands I see Will catching three of four this series, and we’ll see what happens going forward.”
Even before Smith re-aggravated his neck injury, Roberts noted that Barnes would start in two of the three contests against the L.A. Angels this weekend.
Roberts, Smith downplay collision with Tatis Jr.
After bowling over Smith at home plate, Justin Turner appeared to have words for Tatis before walking back to the dugout. “I think they were just kind of like, ‘Man, what are you doing?’ and he said, ‘Hey, he was in my way’ kind of thing,” Roberts said.
“Nothing really contentious. He’s an aggressive player, plays with a lot of intensity. Our guy was there and had the ball but he was in the way. That’s just baseball, so we don’t take anything from it.”
Smith echoed much of the same, saying, “I was in a bad position during that rundown. Didn’t really know what lane J.T. was going in, but we got him out and got Joe out of the inning. I didn’t like getting run over but it wasn’t dirty or anything.”
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