The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Will Smith from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed David Freese on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. Freese’s IL stint is retroactive to June 21.
Although it wasn’t announced until after their second straight walk-off win, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts deemed him unavailable in Saturday’s game. That appeared to be the case when Austin Barnes pinch-hit for Pedro Baez with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and the winning run on third base.
Roberts said at the time it was due to knee trouble Freese has been dealing with. Public knowledge of his tendinitis surfaced when the veteran was not in the lineup for the Freeway Series opener.
“He’s been dealing with that tendinitis in his knee, and obviously as a byproduct the hamstring has kind of gone south,” Robert said Sunday. “It’s something we can manage, so to backdate it, we’re hopeful that when he’s eligibility is up he’ll be active.”
Freese recently completed a stretch of appearing in six consecutive games from June 15-20, including back-to-back starts at the tail end of it. Overall this season he’s batting .308/.407/.592 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI.
Smith returns after a remarkable stretch with Oklahoma City that included hitting a home run in five consecutive games. Over his last 10 games with OKC, Smith batted .306 with six homers and nine RBI.
Smith appeared in six games with the Dodgers during his first time up, going 6-for-21 (.286 bating average) with two home runs and three RBI. Smith’s first home run memorably was a walk-off against the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the Dodgers opting for a catcher to replace Freese on the active roster, it presumably will lead to more time for Joc Pederson at first base. He enters Sunday having made consecutive starts and appeared in three games at the position thus far.
Smith has the ability to play second base and third base, but the Dodgers have not given an indication he will do so at the Major League level. Austin Barnes and Russell Martin also present positional flexibility.