Dodgers

Dodgers Yasiel Puig (hamstring), Scott Kazmir (abdominal tightness) have issues

A scene at Camelback Ranch on Saturday illuminated the resolve required by Dave Roberts to overcome the blitz of injuries in his first spring as Dodgers manager.

A split-squad day had already cleaved the roster in half. Now an issue with Yasiel Puig's hamstring removed him from the lineup. So, who was starting in the outfield for the Dodgers in the day's first game?

"Who do we got?" he said as he met with reporters in the morning. Trayce Thompson would start in center field and Scott Van Slyke would man left field. As for right . . .

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"Who else we got?" Roberts asked a member of the media relations department. The staffer scanned his phone.

"Scavuzzo," the staffer said.

That would be Jacob Scavuzzo, a 21st-round pick from 2012 who spent 2015 at Class-A affiliates Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga. And he proved to be the sole bright spot of the afternoon game against the Mariners, recording a single, a double and a homer. Roberts could not even grin about that — he was too busy fretting over the early exit of Scott Kazmir due to abdominal tightness.

Such is the state, at least temporarily, of the team as the final week of spring training approaches.

Puig became another wounded Dodger when he reported an issue with his hamstring Saturday morning. He dealt with injuries to both hamstrings in 2015 and played in only 79 games as a result. Roberts insisted the team not put Puig at risk.

"He wants to play, but I'm going to scratch him," Roberts said. "Just for the sake of being ready for opening day. He's swinging the bat well, playing great. So any hint [of trouble] for me, right now, I'm going to err on the side of caution."

Puig left the game Friday night after only three innings. The Dodgers said his exit was planned, because he was scheduled to play Saturday afternoon. But Roberts suggested Puig could have injured himself while straining to take second base on a double in Friday's second inning.

"This morning, he was sore," Roberts said. "There was a little something. So that's all I needed to hear."

For the Dodgers and for Roberts, the rush of injuries this spring has yet to slow. After the early blows to Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Corey Seager strained his knee and Andre Ethier broke his leg. Yasmani Grandal probably will begin the season on the disabled list because of to inflammation in his forearm.

Now Puig joins Howie Kendrick among the less severely injured. Kendrick is resting a tight calf.

"You've got to almost, not prepare for the worst, but expect the unexpected," Roberts said. "Whatever trite statement you want to say. I just think for us, we're just looking forward, and trying not to let any of these distractions take away from our focus."

And then Roberts headed to Peoria to watch his team play the Mariners. After only four innings and 70 pitches, Kazmir left the game. He was spotted twisting his core inside the dugout during discussions with team personnel.

Inside the visitors' clubhouse after his departure, Kazmir attempted to play coy. His poker face would cost a fortune even at penny stakes. He maintained a smile during a conversation with reporters. He offered various versions of "I'm good" until he relented.

"It was something just completely minor, that, literally, I was like 'I'm ready to go out there,'" he said. "And it's like 'No, let's not even test it.'"

He added, "Honestly, all the tests went well. Everything went great. Everything went awesome. So it's really nothing to even identify. So we're good. We are definitely good."

Roberts tried to match Kazmir's optimism after the game. He felt encouraged that Kazmir passed the early tests administered by the training staff.

"Obviously, tomorrow morning we'll know more," Roberts said. "But I don't see it being a problem."

He turned toward a bus ride back to Camelback Ranch for his second game of the day. He managed a grin. If the morning tested his resolve, the afternoon tested his capacity for gallows' humor.

"But don't hold me to that."

Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on March 27, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Puig, Kazmir are latest with injuries" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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