Dodgers Not Concerned With Alex Verdugo’s Long-Term Health Despite Lingering Back Injury
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo runs toward home plate at Coors Field
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 season marked Alex Verdugo’s first legitimate opportunity with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After enjoying brief stints at the Major League level in previous years, he was included on the club’s Opening Day roster.

Verdugo earned a spot as a bench player and thrived with the limited playing time he received prior to entering the starting lineup for A.J. Pollock, who was sidelined after undergoing elbow surgery in May.

Verdugo continued to tear the cover off the ball during the first half and had emerged as a potential National League Rookie of the Year candidate before his season was derailed in August.

He was scratched from the Dodgers lineup on the first day of the month because of left knee soreness, then again four days later due to back trouble. Those issues, along with an oblique injury, prematurely ended his 2019 season.

While Verdugo is still coping with back problems, the Dodgers are said to not be worried about his long-term health going forward, via Ken Gurnick of

Club officials say there is no concern with the 23-year-old’s health long term, but initially nobody thought his injury was this serious.

While the initial expectation was that Verdugo would return in the time for the postseason, he suffered a setback while on a rehab assignment with Rookie-level Ogden.

Rather than oblique trouble resurfacing, Verdugo dealt with a back injury and was shut down for the remainder of the season. It concluded an otherwise solid rookie campaign in which he hit a solid .294/.342/.475 with 22 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 44 RBI over 377 plate appearances.

Verdugo has not yet participated in baseball activities this offseason but is hoping to recover in time for Opening Day of the 2020 season — now less than three months away.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman previously maintained an expectation that Verdugo would be good to go by Spring Training.

When he’s cleared to return, Verdugo will presumably see the majority of his reps at one of the outfield corner spots next season. He primarily played center field in 2019, but Cody Bellinger has since taken over the position, leaving him to contend for playing time with Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock.

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