Posted on July 5, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t exactly in need of a lot of help these days. They already have 60 wins and a 14.5-game lead in the NL West. But they’re about to get some help anyway. The team announced Thursday that center fielder A.J. Pollock will come off the Injured List following the all-star break. Shortstop Corey Seager is also on his way back from injury and could also return to the Dodgers soon after the second half gets underway next Friday.
Pollock has already missed more than two months of action. He went on the IL on April 30 after developing an infection in his elbow. Pollock has had multiple issues with the elbow in the past, so the Dodgers weren’t going to take any chances with him. But after starting a rehab assignment at single-A on Thursday, Pollock is on pace to be activated next Friday when the Dodgers begin an inter-league series with the Red Sox.
After signing a four-year, $55 million deal with Los Angeles during the offseason, Pollock got off to a slow start this season. When he went to the IL, he was hitting just .223 with an OPS of .617. But he’s far better than those numbers would indicate. Once he’s healthy and gets his timing back, there’s every chance he’ll have a big second half for the Dodgers and make a positive impact.
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Of course, Pollock’s return will force the Dodgers to move some pieces around. Alex Verdugo has taken over center field duties while Pollock has been out and excelled in the process. The 23-year-old is hitting .297 with an OPS of .829. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Verdugo will slide over to left field to make room for Pollock upon his return.
Meanwhile, regular left fielder Joc Pederson will spend more time playing first base. Pederson has already started to see some action at first base, causing Max Muncy to spend time at both second base and third base. Muncy is fine playing multiple positions, although Pederson is new to first base, so there could be some growing pains. But given Pollock’s abilities both offensively and defensively, Roberts is willing to move some things around in order to accommodate him.
As for Seager, he has missed nearly a month with a strained hamstring. But his recovery is progressing and he is nearly ready to start playing minor league games. Even if he’s not back with Pollock next Friday, it won’t be too much longer until he’s back playing shortstop every day for the Dodgers.
Seager got off to a slow start offensively this season, which was to be expected after he missed most of 2018 with Tommy John surgery. But he had started to heat up right before the injury. Seager was 17 for 40 (.425) with eight extra-base hits in the month of June prior to the injury. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Chris Taylor has been a suitable replacement, hitting .378 since Seager went to the IL. Nevertheless, the Dodgers will be pleased to have Seager back in action.
Once Pollock and Seager return from the IL, the Los Angeles lineup will be back at full strength. Even with a few injuries this season, the Dodgers are third in the National League in runs scored. If Pollock and Seager come back and get going offensively, the Dodgers will become even more dangerous offensively, which is a scary threat for the rest of the National League. It’s hard to believe, but the Dodgers are the best team in baseball right now, and after the all-star break, they have a chance to be even better.