Dodgers News: Steven Souza Jr. Felt Wave Of Emotions With Home Run Against Diamondbacks
Dino Ebel, Steven Souza Jr.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers beginning their road trip against the Arizona Diamondbacks meant the first time Steven Souza Jr. was at Chase Field since suffering a severe left knee injury during a Spring Training game in March 2019.

Souza required season-ending surgery to repair an ACL tear, LCL tear, partial PCL tear and posterior lateral capsule tear after landing awkwardly when touching home plate. His time with the Diamondbacks amounted to only 72 games during a 2018 season that was riddled with injuries.

Souza openly said he was looking forward to playing his former team, and went on to back that up with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of the series opener.

“Honestly, I was super pumped to come through for the team right there,” Souza said after the Dodgers’ 3-0 win. “We were putting runners on and putting pressure on them, but we just couldn’t crack through.

“Late in the game, putting our team ahead, especially being with a new group of guys, I could feel their energy and it just fired me up.”

As his line drive cleared the fence in left field, Souza turned to acknowledge and celebrate with Dodgers teammates in the dugout. “I almost missed first base,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my career. I looked into the dugout and the boys were so fired up and I was so fired up with them. Luckily, I touched first. I didn’t want to pull a Ke’Bryan Hayes and miss it. That would’ve been no good.”

Hitting the home run was certainly an emotional moment for the 32-year-old, but crossing home plate at Chase Field and remaining upright carried more weight. “Honestly, the last moment that I had here wasn’t a great one,” Souza said.

“So I was more fired up that I could kind of erase that and really put in the past and celebrate this one. … So being able to touch it and walk away being up 1-0 was definitely emotional.”

Souza fully removed from knee injury

Now more than two years since the left knee injury suffered during the exhibition game, Souza is confident in his health and playing without concern. That was particularly evident on a sliding catch he made during the seventh inning despite quickly closing in on the wall in foul territory.

“I knew it was going to be close, and I took my eye off the ball for a second to check where the wall was,” Souza explained. “I didn’t want to catch and go into the wall because I felt like I was running too fast, so I slid, just kind of reached out and hoped it didn’t hit the wall. Luckily it fell into my glove.

“I honestly don’t think about it anymore. That’s kudos to all the people that have helped me rehab it. … Coming into this (past) spring, I haven’t really thought about it. My knee bounces back great and I thank God that I’m able to turn around and heal.

“I feel the best I’ve felt in three years.”

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