Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Believes Yoshi Tsutsugo Could Benefit From Rehab Assignment
Yoshi Tsutsugo
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated Tony Gonsolin from the 60-day injured list earlier this month, it required two corresponding roster moves.

Scott Alexander, sidelined since May 6 because of right shoulder inflammation, was transferred to the 60-day IL. Yoshi Tsutsugo additionally was placed on the 10-day IL with a right calf strain.

“I don’t know the particular incident, but it’s something that’s been bothering him for a few weeks,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently explained. “At some point in time over the next four or five days we’ll get him on rehab when he can play and try to nurse him back to health.”

Tsutsugo last appeared in a game on June 5 and hasn’t fared well offensively since being claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays last month. In 12 games with the Dodgers, he has collected just three hits over 25 at-bats.

Although the calf injury could have played a part in his woes at the plate, another source of Tsutsugo’s struggles is his inability to catch up to high-velocity pitches.

“I think so,” Roberts answered when asked if Tsutsugo’s struggles extend beyond his right calf strain. “I agree with that.”

Roberts acknowledged that Tsutsugo likely needs consistent playing time to reach expectations and is looking forward to seeing how he looks in his rehab assignment. “I do think he needs regular at-bats,” Roberts said.

“Obviously with our roster and trying to get our hitting coaches dialed in with his swings and the right verbiage, get on the same page and get him consistent at-bats was hard.

“This could be a positive in the sense that it just gives us an opportunity to get him on rehab and take regular at-bats to see what we’ve got. I know he was disappointed, but I did send a message to him as far as it can potentially be an opportunity.”

Tsutsugo was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City at the beginning of the week but it has been delayed because his luggage and equipment did not arrive.

Roberts downplays ‘language barrier’ for Tsutsugo’s struggles

Tsutsugo previously spoke on it being a difficult transition for him from Japan to MLB. While that likely has hindered him, Roberts doesn’t believe a language barrier is to be blamed for his struggles.

“It’s more the typical stuff. Brian Tobin, his interpreter, has been great,” Roberts said. “It’s just coming from obviously Japan to the Rays to here, there’s a lot of different ways to talk hitting.

“We were fortunate to have him around to see how guys work and what the expectation is on both sides.”

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