Chris Taylor played most of the second half of last season with bone chips in his right elbow, which led to having offseason surgery to clean up the issue.
Because of the surgery, Taylor was limited to just getting work at the plate and at second base early in Spring Training. However, the Dodgers were confident it wouldn’t inhibit him during the regular season, and that has held to be mostly true.
Apart from a brief scare when Taylor ran into the center field wall and appeared to injure his elbow on May 31, Taylor’s arm is feeling a lot stronger despite not being back to 100%.
“Definitely is feeling stronger as the year progresses,” Taylor said. “It’s still has its little peaks and valleys, but compared to where we were a couple months ago, there’s no way I would’ve been able to make that throw.”
Taylor showed off his arm’s health on Thursday in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory against the San Diego Padres with an outfield assist.
The Padres were threatening to break the game open with Trent Grisham on third and Ha-Seon Kim on second with just one out. Jurickson Profar lined a ball into right field that was caught by Taylor.
As Grisham tried to score, Taylor made a perfect throw to Will Smith who applied the tag on Grisham for the double play to end the inning.
“I think the last couple weeks, that’s when we’ve seen an uptick of arm strength,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s always had the accuracy. I don’t know if he felt he could trust letting it go, and was cutting it off a little bit.
“The ball was cutting coming out of his hand, but the last two weeks, the spin has been true and he’s made some big plays with his arm.”
Following the scoreless second, Mitch White went on to throw 2.2 more innings without allowing a run before he was relieved by Justin Bruihl. White gave credit to Taylor for changing the momentum of the game.
“Whenever there’s big defensive plays on the field it’s a big deal,” White said. “Obviously to stop the bleeding there, that was huge. I think that definitely gave me a little momentum.”
The throw was similar to when Taylor also threw out Grisham at the plate during the 2020 season, but this time he did it from right field rather than left field. It was also followed by Justin Turner tying the game with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning.
“It was really the play of the game,” Turner said. “Big throw by C.T. to keep it a one-run game. Apparently, he has a knack for throwing Grisham out at the plate.
“I’ve seen him do it a few times now. Big momentum swing for us, keeping it a one-run game was huge.”
Chris Taylor credits Will Smith for getting the tag down
Taylor wasn’t sure he would be able to get Grisham out at the plate, but attempted it because he was in a good position to do so.
“I don’t know,” Taylor said when asked what he thought his chances of getting the double play were. “I was fortunate to be able to catch it moving in, so I had all my momentum going home. Just tried to get rid of it as quick as I can.”
Taylor also made sure to give credit to Smith for catching the ball and making the tag.
“He’s made a couple good ones for me this year,” Taylor said. “He’s been outstanding. I think he’s picked me up twice on short hops.”
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