Dodgers Recall Keibert Ruiz; Will Smith Placed On Injured List
Keibert Ruiz
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Keibert Ruiz from their alternate training site at USC and placed Will Smith on the 10-day injured list due to neck inflammation, retroactive to Aug. 13. Manager Dave Roberts hinted at the potential roster move before Saturday’s game against the L.A. Angels.

Smith has been out of the lineup since being removed in the fifth inning on Wednesday night. Roberts explained it was due to neck soreness that was “remnants” of a collision at the plate last week in San Diego.

Like with Corey Seager, the Dodgers remained hopeful Smith would progress well in his recovery and avoid an IL stint. “Just sort of mild improvement. He’s still really stiff, not pain, but the stiffness in moving his head side to side,” Roberts said Friday.

That was a day after he explained the trouble was primarily in Smith’s neck. “When it is more localized, that’s a good thing,” Roberts added.”

Smith was just 6-for-32 (.188 batting average) with two home runs and eight RBI in 14 games this season. He largely alternated start days with Austin Barnes until catching in back-to-back games at the beginning of the week.

Ruiz, who will wear No. 25, is on the Dodgers’ active roster for the first time in his young career. He’s among the organization’s heralded prospects but has faced a bit of an uphill climb since Spring Training.

Ruiz was delayed in making his Cactus League debut this year due to working with hitting coaches on his swing mechanics, then arrived late to Summer Camp for an undisclosed reason. The 22-year-old appears to have benefitted from being at the alternate training site since Opening Day.

“Keibert has done a fantastic job,” Robert said. “Everything we’ve asked of him at the secondary site, he’s always been good bat to ball, the left-handed swing is a little uphill, he’s been around the baseball. Contact is very good, but our hitting guys really cleaned that up and got him to backspin the baseball.

“He’s understanding how we do things as far as signs and game planning. He was around [Friday] and again today. He’s been in some meetings.”

It’s likely Ruiz will make his MLB debut on Sunday, catching Dustin May.

Barnes turning the corner

Barnes is among the Dodgers who endured a slow start to the season, which was a bit of carryover from a disappointing 2019 campaign. However, he has now hit safely in the past four games entering play Friday.

Roberts recently said Barnes had been ironing out his mechanics and there was hope he would benefit from a string of consecutive starts while Smith was forced to sit out.

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