After seeing Kiké Hernandez sign with the Boston Red Sox during free agency this past offseason, there were indications the Los Angeles Dodgers planned to give Zach McKinstry an opportunity to take on the super utility role.
McKinstry had an impressive showing during the 2019 Minor League season and rode that momentum into Spring Training and Summer Camp the following year. McKinstry made his MLB debut with the Dodgers last season and continued to be a standout performer in spring this year.
That earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster and the 26-year-old steadily became a consistent contributor. However, McKinstry’s success was brought to a halt April 23, when he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain.
McKinstry initially remained with the Dodgers but took his rehab to the alternate training site at Camelback Ranch when the team began a road trip at the end of April. He’s remained there — along with Bellinger — and now the two are poised to begin respective rehab assignments.
McKinstry will likely join Triple-A Oklahoma City in the coming days, with Bellinger to follow on the weekend. It’s plausible McKinstry would then be activated when the Dodgers begin a homestand against the San Francisco Giants on May 27.
“I don’t know the dates exactly, but more optimistic that Zach would arrive before Cody,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just because Cody has been out much longer.”
Prior to being placed on the IL, McKinstry appeared in 17 games (13 starts) and batted .296/.328/.556 with five doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI. Despite not playing in nearly one month, he still is fourth on the team in homers and tied for sixth in RBI.
Bellinger’s offseason surgery a factor
In addition to only appearing in four games before landing on the injured list, Bellinger was delayed in Spring Training as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery. Not having spent much time on the field for a full game is a factor the Dodgers are cognizant of.
“I think that’s something we, as an organization, are very mindful of. It’s easy to get him back as soon as possible, pencil him in and expect a .900 OPS, but it just doesn’t happen like that,” Roberts said.
“Cody needs to go play, feel good, take competitive at-bats and make sure his timing is right. When that time comes he’ll be ready to help us.”
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