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Rise of Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez makes hamstring injury troubling

Enrique Hernandez

Enrique Hernandez drives in a run against Cincinnati on Aug. 26.

(Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

No, I can’t explain the lose-five, win-five, get-no-hit Dodgers either, but I can tell you they are hamstrung.

Running out a grounder Sunday night, Enrique Hernandez felt something in his left hamstring as he crossed the bag. And not something good.

“I’ve never had any hamstring issues before, so I really don’t even know what I felt,” Hernandez said.

He left the game and the Dodgers went on to be no-hit for the second time in nine days. When thoughts should have been turning to the incoming Giants, it was difficult not to be concerned about Hernandez.

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Hernandez was playing third base Sunday, his sixth different position this season, but of late had pretty much become their regular center fielder. Since normal center fielder Joc Pederson remains in a horrendous slump -- in his last 24 games he is batting .083 (five for 60, with 27 strikeouts) -- and Hernandez has been the Dodgers’ hottest hitter (.382 in his last 26 games), this is a real problem coming at a particularly bad moment in the season.

The Dodgers were going with the wait-and-see approach on the severity of Hernandez’s injury, though the look on Hernandez’s face after the game was anything but encouraging. If he’s out a few days, the Dodgers work it out. If he’s out for a serious amount of time, it’s very real trouble.

The Dodgers already have two starters on the disabled list with strained hamstrings -- second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Yasiel Puig. The minor league seasons end on Sept. 7, so Kendrick -- who has been out since Aug. 10 with his hamstring -- is running out of time to get any rehab starts in. Puig went on the DL last week for the second time this season with a hamstring issue.

However long Hernandez is out, the Dodgers have little choice but to put Pederson back in center in the interim. Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke have played there in the past, but aside for one game by Ethier, not this season. Rookie infielder Jose Peraza played 17 minor-league games in center this season, but it would be a tough assignment to put the 21-year-old who has appeared in only three major-league games out there in a stretch drive.

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Hernandez has gone from a reserve utility player who saw little action to a valuable piece of the team. His loss would prove an unexpected blow.

Twitter: @stevedilbeck


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