The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Austin Barnes on the 10-day injured list with a strained left groin and called up Will Smith from Triple-A Oklahoma City ahead of Monday’s series opener against the New York Mets.
Barnes injured his groin running the bases during Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has officially been diagnosed with a strain and it was determined serious enough to require a stint on the IL.
It comes at an inopportune time considering Barnes had been swinging the bat well as of late. He hit .438/.571/.563 with two doubles, four RBI and three walks in his last five games. Overall in 40 games this season, the 29-year-old has hit .231/.345/.393 with seven doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI.
It is unclear how long Barnes will be out, but it figures to at least be a couple of weeks so Russell Martin and Smith will be handling the catching duties until he is able to return.
For Smith, this marks his first call-up to the Major Leagues. He spent some time with the team last September although he was never placed on the active roster.
The 24-year-old was ranked a top-five prospect in the Dodgers organization by many publications this past winter, and he has validated that by getting off to a hot start at the plate with Oklahoma City.
In 38 games, Smith hit .290/.404/.551 with eight home runs, 28 RBI and 28 runs scored. This season marked Smith’s second with Oklahoma City. He was selected by the Dodgers in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Once Smith gets up to speed with the pitching staff he figures to get an opportunity to start or make his debut. This past February, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman championed Smith as already being a Gold-Glove caliber catcher.
He has also played some infield in the past, so he brings the Dodgers some versatility as well should they need it.