When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired second baseman Brian Dozier at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, it was with an eye on adding much-needed offense to the position.
Dozier represented just that, having led all second basemen in home runs over the previous two seasons. His arrival to the club was two years in the making, as Los Angeles vigorously pursued a deal for him during the 2016 offseason.
Despite a slow start with the Minnesota Twins, the Dodgers were banking on Dozier’s track record of turning it around in the second half. He initially stood out with his new team, collecting a pair of doubles and home runs over his first nine at-bats.
But Dozier has struggled ever since and recently revealed that he has been playing through a knee injury for much of the season. He has nevertheless tuned out the pain and insists he feels healthy enough to contribute, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“But that’s by no means trying to make an excuse. It feels great right now. You just develop bad habits in your swing when stuff like that happens. You try to find ways around it. I’ve never made excuses I just try to go out there and play.”
While Dozier remains confident he can continue playing through the knee pain, he admitted there have been some limitations with his swing:
“It’s been a constant struggle to fire into my front side,” he said of the limitations caused by his knee pain. “It gets irritating. But that’s just the way it is and you find ways around it. Firing into my front side is the way my swing works, creating power and leverage and space and all that kind of stuff. The thing now is to keep firing into the front side so that I pull my weight into it as I make that transition.”
Dozier doesn’t want use his knee injury as an excuse for his struggles, however, and hopes to avoid being placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Dozier has made just four starts at second base dating back to Sept. 10. In 55 plate appearances (42 games) with the Dodgers, he is hitting a meager .189/.303/.348 with nine doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI.