For weeks, Dave Roberts has managed the Dodgers like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find the right combination of pieces to overcome a string of injuries and keep the team’s first-half roll intact.
On Tuesday, he could finally see reinforcements on the horizon.
Roberts said first baseman David Freese is expected to be activated Friday or Saturday, while shortstop Corey Seager and center fielder A.J. Pollock will likely rejoin the Dodgers when the team resumes play July 12 following the All-Star break.
“Unless something changes, I see [Pollock and Seager] both being active when we start the second half,” Roberts said, later adding: “An activation [of Freese] either Friday or Saturday seems feasible.”
Freese, 36, will not require a rehab assignment, Roberts said. Before going on the 10-day injured list June 23 with a left hamstring strain, he was hitting .308 with a .999 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Roberts said Pollock, on the other hand, will go on a rehab assignment that will likely begin Friday. Pollock, who signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, hasn’t played since April because of right elbow inflammation.
“They’re progressing well,” Roberts said of Pollock and Seager. “They’re doing everything an active player would essentially do. Taking light at-bats today, they came out of it well.”
Even with the absence of that trio, the Dodgers’ position in the National League West has hardly suffered. The team went 12-6 during an 18-day stretch prior to Monday’s off day, relying on rookies and minor league call-ups to maintain a 12-game lead in the division and the best record in baseball entering play Tuesday.
Infielder Edwin Rios became the latest contributor during the Dodgers’ series in Colorado over the weekend. The 2015 sixth-round draft pick collected his first two big league hits Saturday and finished the four-game set, his first in the MLB, three for nine with an RBI and two walks.
“This is what you dream of as a little kid, to be here. It’s a blessing,” Rios said Tuesday ahead of his first game in Dodger Stadium. “You get called up for a reason, you know you’re going to get ABs. But being able to be in the lineup just helps.”
Rios knows his stint in he majors likely will be temporary. With so many veterans set to come off the injured list soon, players such as him, outfielder Kyle Garlick and nfielder Matt Beaty might get shuttled back to triple A, at least until they’re needed to patch holes again.
“The only thing I can do is control what I can control,” Rios said. “I’m going to come in, day in, day out, do what I can, give it my all and see what happens.”
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was not in the lineup Tuesday because of “residual soreness” in his elbow after it got hit by a pitch Sunday, Roberts said. X-rays on Turner’s elbow and wrist, where he got hit earlier this season, came back negative. Roberts described Turner as “playable” Tuesday, but wanted “to give him an extra day to nip it.” … The Dodgers signed Venezuelan outfielder Luis Rodriguez, 16, to a signing bonus just over $2.5 million. The team is also targeting Venezuelan right-hander Kristian Cardozo, 16, though that deal hasn’t been finalized.