Having clinched the National League West title for an eighth consecutive season and top seed in the NL, much of the final week of the regular season for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been focused on health ahead of the playoffs beginning next week.
Walker Buehler returned from the 10-day injured list and showed no ill effects of the blister on his right index finger that twice sidelined him. Furthermore, Justin Turner has successfully played third base since coming off an IL stint because of hamstring trouble.
However, there was some cause for concern with Max Muncy during Friday’s win over the L.A. Angels. Muncy winced after a check swing, was seen flexing and holding his right wrist after hitting a single, and he later was removed from the game.
“Max is fine,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It was just a check swing. He could’ve stayed in the game, but for me, I’m trying to manage workload as we close out this regular season. It just kind of stung him a little bit; sometimes that happens when you check swing. Max is fine.”
Last year Muncy sustained a fractured right wrist and during Summer Camp he sustained a fractured finger in his left hand. That seemingly had a linger affect as Muncy only recently begun to see results at the plate after struggling through much of the season.
With just two games remaining in the regular season and no bearing on placement in the playoff standings, there is some thought to the Dodgers pulling back to close out the Freeway Series. Roberts acknowledged health being a priority, but he also values sustaining momentum.
“There’s a little bit of that but there’s also just continuing to play to win baseball games,” he said.
“I thought we did a great job competing [Friday] and getting some guys off their feet. It was good to see Gavin get in there and get a hit, Eddie hit a homer, Joc had a really good at-bat. I thought it was really good all the way around.”
Rios, Turner shake off jammed thumbs
Before Turner hit two home runs, he was hit in the left thumb a screaming one-hopper off the bat of Albert Pujols. After Edwin Rios replaced Turner, he also took a ball of his left thumb. Rios later went on to hit a home run of his own.
“The ball Rendon hit kind of did the same thing that Pujols’ ball did to me. We have matching tattoos on our thumb,” Turner joked. “I told him, ‘Hey, those have homers in them.’ Sure enough, he went up and hit a homer. Maybe that’s the trick.”
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