Dodgers News: Zach McKinstry Focused On Mental Aspect During Recovery From Oblique Strain

The Los Angeles Dodgers received some reinforcements over the weekend for their series against the San Francisco Giants, getting back Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry after lengthy stints on the injured list.

Both players reported to Triple-A Oklahoma City for rehab assignments prior to rejoining the Dodgers, appearing in five games each. For McKinstry, who had been sidelined since April 23 with a right oblique strain, his main focus was improving and keeping sharp mentally.

“Just getting better, honestly,” he said. “I couldn’t take very many swings, so I was kind of hanging out with myself, a lot of mental talks to get the mind right and just get back to the playing field.”

McKinstry elaborated on the retrospective conversations he had, revealing that he reminded himself to take things slow until full healthy again.

“Just reminding myself that I’ll be able to get back out there, and to take it slow, make sure you’re fully healthy when you get back and it will all work itself out,” McKinstry said.

The 26-year-old went 5-for-16 with two doubles, three walks and two strikeouts on his rehab assignment, and even appeared off the bench in one contest to simulate the role he’s expected to fill in L.A.

“It was alright. It definitely tested it a little bit. I’m happy to be back,” McKinstry said of his time with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

“It was fun to watch the guys compete, play hard, go on road trips and play tough opponents. And it was fun to watch them play well, go through some adversity and get back on top.”

As for how he will monitor his oblique going forward, McKinstry cited a lighter workload but also will just let the situation work itself out. “I don’t really try to think about it too much,” he said.

“If it happens, it happens at this point. I just have to take the full swing and hope for the best. I really don’t think about it too often.

“Just try to go through my routine, take as many swings as I want. The workload is definitely a little different. I don’t try to take as many swings now that I was before. Just making sure when I do work on my swing, it’s quality over quantity.”

McKinstry’s impressive start allowed him to ‘build confidence’

Prior to landing on the injured list, McKinstry was in the midst of an impressive rookie season. He believes his fast start and the opportunity to play allowed him to build confidence.

“Yeah, definitely. And they’re giving me an opportunity to play a lot, which just builds your confidence even more,” McKinstry said.

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