The Los Angeles Dodgers have been without their starting middle infield for four consecutive games as Miguel Rojas (left groin) and Miguel Vargas (right thumb) have been on the mend from their respective injuries.
Vargas was in the lineup for the series opener against the Colorado Rockies, but Rojas did not play because of groin tightness. Both players then missed the homestand finale because Vargas had been hit by a pitch in his right thumb, and Rojas wasn’t projected to return until Friday at the earliest.
Although that remained a possibility, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted Rojas’ status is more complex than Vargas’ and the veteran shortstop getting back into the lineup for the second game at Chase Field was not a given, via SportsNet LA:
“It’s a little more tricky. He’s going to take a full day of ground balls. The swinging, not a problem. It’s just the position he’s playing and that part of the body, the groin, it’s just so dynamic. One move can set you back weeks. We just can’t afford that. So we’ll see how [Thursday] goes, but tomorrow, I still want to keep that open.”
Roberts added the team is more cautious and mindful with when Rojas will return because of a lack of infield depth:
“As far as the outfield depth, I feel really good about. But the infield, we’ve got to make sure we keep him right.”
Without Rojas available, the Dodgers have turned to Chris Taylor at shortstop. Taylor initially projected to primarily play the outfield this season but that outlook changed when Gavin Lux suffered a torn ACL and LCL in Spring Training, which ended his season.
That thrust Rojas into the starting shortstop role, which he embraced and had been physically preparing for during the offseason anyhow. Rojas also withdrew from the Team Venezuela roster for the World Baseball Classic in order to focus on his new opportunity with the Dodgers.
Rojas wound up missing Friday’s game but could return for the third matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Dodgers infield depth behind Miguel Rojas
To Roberts’ point, the Dodgers don’t have many options if Rojas were to suffer any sort of setback that in turn required him to miss more time.
Taylor is capable of manning the position for the time being, but he too would eventually need to be spelled with an occasional day off.
Additional infielders on the Dodgers 40-man roster currently not up with the club are Michael Busch, Yonny Hernández, Eddys Leonard and Jorbit Vivas.
Leonard is capable of playing shortstop but has yet to make his MLB debut or advance past Double-A Tulsa. That would presumably make Hernández the favorite if Rojas winds up going on the 15-day injured list.
When discussing Lux’s injury during Spring Training, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman admitted depth amongst position players was an area of concern.
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