The Los Angeles Dodgers began a 10-game homestand in exciting fashion, with Clayton Kershaw passing Sandy Koufax in career strikeouts and Will Smith hitting a grand slam, but there was also some injury concern that crept up with A.J. Pollock and Alex Verdugo.
Verdugo was scratched from the lineup less than one hour before first pitch at Dodger Stadium, with the team citing left knee soreness. He was replaced in left field by Matt Beaty and never appeared in the Dodgers’ 8-2 comeback win.
“On that play at third base [Wednesday] he kind of took an awkward (step) when he came back to the bag. The grass gave way, so he kind of tweaked his knee,” Roberts explained after his club’s victory.
“Came in a little stiff, so we wanted to stay away from him. But he’ll be in the lineup [Friday].”
Verdugo was poised to be coming off a 4-for-4 effort at the plate in what was his second career four-hit game. On the season he’s batting .295/.344/.479 with 21 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 44 RBI.
Verdugo’s availability as the weekend series against the San Diego Padres continues is amplified in some regard due to Pollock being removed after seven innings on Thursday night.
“When he was coming around the bases felt something in his (left) groin,” Roberts said. “Just to be cautious, we wanted to get him out of there.”
Pollock who was in the leadoff spot, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored prior to his early exit. He’s developed a reputation as being injury-prone, but doesn’t believe the latest issue is serious.
“I’ve had this thing kind of creep up on me a couple times in my career. If anything, it’s a day thing,” Pollock said. “Just felt a little weird, was talking to Doc, and he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s shut it down.’
“I could’ve gone out there and pushed through it but I let him know and he said let’s move on.”
Pollock already missed a chunk of this season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow to remove hardware that became infected after a cut.
If Verdugo is required to miss more time, the Dodgers have the added luxury of Joc Pederson being moved back to the outfield after a failed trial period at first base. Roberts revealed the club’s intention on Thursday, along with outlining a plan for Cody Bellinger to play more frequently at first base.