Dodgers News: Farhan Zaidi, Dave Roberts Optimistic Kenta Maeda Will Make Next Start
Ross D. Franklin-AP Photo

Having already tapped into their pitching depth on several occasions this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers can ill-afford to lose another starter to injury. That appeared inevitable during the sixth inning on Tuesday night when Kenta Maeda was struck by a line drive on his right leg.

He managed to grab the baseball and toss it over to first base to complete the play, then immediately clutched his knee and fell to the ground in pain. Paul Goldschmidt’s laser was registered at 95 mph.

Athletic trainer Nate Lucero, Maeda’s interpretor Will Ireton and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts rushed out of the dugout to check on the right-hander.

Maeda remained down for several minutes before being assisted off the field by Lucero and Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. Maeda was unable to put much weight on his right leg as he slowly worked his way to the dugout.

Seemingly by a stroke of luck, X-rays came back negative and Maeda was diagnosed with a lower leg contusion. Of course, the same was said for Andre Ethier after he fouled a ball off his leg during a Cactus League game.

Initially listed as day-to-day, Ethier didn’t show any signs for improvement and a bone scan ultimately revealed a fractured right tibia. But, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Roberts is hopeful the Japanese native will make his next start:

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi echoed a similar sentiment, pointing to improvement that had already been made since Maeda was removed from the game:

While there was optimism from those around him, Maeda was hesitant to look five days ahead, per Andy McCullough of the LA Times:

By Wednesday, the right-hander already appeared improved:

Roberts did note in his postgame comments the ball hit a nerve that caused the dead feeling in Maeda’s leg. Being hit by a comebacker is nothing new for the 28 year old.

Maeda was struck on his throwing hand in the first inning on May 28, but remained in the game. He managed to throw five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit after the incident, and earning a win.

There was residual soreness that forced the Dodgers to push his next start back one day. While Maeda was removed Tuesday night, the Dodgers offense picked him up, and he improved to 6-4 with a 2.75 ERA this season.