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Dodgers believe Corey Seager can stick at shortstop despite injury history

Dodgers believe Corey Seager can stick at shortstop despite injury history
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager connects for a double against the Miami Marlins in the third inning on April 24 at Dodger Stadium. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Corey Seager underwent surgery on his left hip on Tuesday in New York, adding another ailment to his list of physical issues since debuting with the Dodgers in 2015. He sprained his knee in the spring of 2016. He missed the National League Championship Series last October with a strained back muscle. The most significant blow occurred in April, when Seager tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers framed the hip procedure as a chance to clean up a minor issue while he was already rehabbing his elbow. The team expects him to resume baseball activities in January, and does not believe his hip condition will affect the rehab program for his elbow. It is unclear if Seager will be ready for Opening Day in 2019, but he is expected to participate in spring training.

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The injuries still reflect the challenge of keeping a player like Seager, listed at 6 feet 4 and 220 pounds, at shortstop. Manager Dave Roberts insisted that despite the physical issues, the Dodgers believe Seager can stick at the position in the future.

“I know we see him as a shortstop,” Roberts said before Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. “From what I understand, both those surgeries, we expect him to be the player that he was. Obviously with the elbow issues that he had, and the hip, probably a better player than he was, as far as the health side of it.

“He played at a high level with those injuries. We’d expect him to sustain that.”

Seager dealt with elbow discomfort for most of the second half of 2017. He missed two weeks in August and September, but avoided the disabled list. His production dipped slightly from his rookie-of-the-year campaign, but he still finished with 22 home runs and an .854 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Seager, 24, is a two-time All-Star at shortstop. But there have always been questions about his ability to stay there. On the day he was drafted, the commentators on MLB Network discussed his future at third base. Seager used the slights as fuel as he adapted to the challenges of playing shortstop at the professional level.

One factor complicating Seager’s future position is the Dodgers’ perceived interest in re-signing Manny Machado. Machado has filled in mostly at shortstop since being acquired in July. The team could shift either Seager or Justin Turner off the left side of the infield to make room for Machado.

Short hops

Julio Urias could pitch for class-A Rancho Cucamonga this week as he builds up arm strength for a bullpen opportunity with the Dodgers in September. His fastball clocked at 93 mph in recent outings in the Arizona Summer League, Roberts said. . . . Yasiel Puig returned to the lineup after sitting out on Sunday with a recurrence of discomfort in his oblique area and singled twice. … The Dodgers placed reliever Daniel Hudson on the 10-day disabled list with right forearm tightness and called up switch pitcher Pat Venditte.

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