After returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup in the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Max Muncy was out Wednesday night as the team remains cautious.
Muncy has been dealing with a sore right ankle and missed the final two games of the Dodgers’ previous series against the Atlanta Braves.
Although his ankle started to hurt after attempting to beat out a double play, Muncy explained he felt good running down the line and assumed the injury could have been the result of an earlier defensive play.
“It’s one of those things where I was running off the field in Atlanta and my foot kind of just gave out, went dead and started swelling up,” Muncy said.
“The only thing that even popped into my head was earlier in that game when Anderson laid down a bunt, I came in and grabbed it and when I went to plant, my foot gave out on the grass. That’s about the only thing I can think of that maybe even caused it and it was just kind of delayed. Kind of a freak accident type thing that we literally have no idea.”
Muncy underwent testing and has been monitored by the Dodgers training staff, but they are still not sure what is causing the soreness and discomfort. Manager Dave Roberts had started to refer to the injury as a mild sprain.
“It’s not quite an ankle sprain. We got X-rays done, doctors looked at it, and we’re just not entirely sure. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything too serious,” Muncy said.
“We’re keeping an eye on it, obviously, but [Tuesday] was good. It felt good being out there, didn’t feel like it was too bad. There’s going to be a little bit of a limp for a day or two, but I felt good.”
While he was able to play first base against the Pirates, Muncy was unable to start at second base on Wednesday because of the extra range and movement it takes.
“It’s one of those things where any play you’re making you’re usually on the run. Whereas first base, the majority of your running is just going to be getting to the bag to catch the ball,” Muncy explained.
“With first base it’s a little bit easier when you have injuries like that because you can shorten up your distance. You can’t really shorten up your distance at second base. You have to be in the position they need you to be in, you have to be able to cover ground. First base, you still need to cover ground but you can kind of get away with a little bit more. That’s the biggest difference.”
Muncy also said the injury doesn’t bother him when he swings — a positive sign that he can contribute to the team while dealing with the injury. He hopes to avoid a stint on the 10-day injured list and simply take a day or two for rest should the ankle remain an issue.
“The way it’s been progressing the last couple days, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue,” Muncy said. “Each day it’s felt a lot better. It felt pretty good [Tuesday] playing in the game, it feels a little bit better now, so it’s just one of those things where as we keep moving forward hopefully it keeps getting better and we don’t even have to worry about it.”
Max Valuable Player
This season, Muncy is hitting .267/.422/.524 with 13 home runs, 39 runs, 31 RBI, 163 wRC+ and 2.7 WAR in 57 games.
His performance on both sides of the ball has prompted manager Dave Roberts to call him one of the best two or three players in baseball right now.
After dealing with a fractured finger and struggling most of last season, Muncy was able to heat up in the postseason and help the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988. He has carried that success into this season and could push himself into the MVP conversation if he keeps his hot streak going.