Dodgers rookie Andrew Toles passed a Wednesday evening test of his sore left wrist in batting practice and will start in Game 1 against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said.
The status of outfielder Toles, who hit .314 with an .870 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 115 plate appearances, was the lone lingering question about health heading into Friday’s National League division series game. Toles has had only two at-bats since Sept. 28 as the team gave him time to rest his wrist.
Toles was initially injured during batting practice in the middle of September. He played through the discomfort for a couple of weeks before taking most of the final road trip off.
“I’m a tough dude,” Toles said. “I’m not going to be complaining or making excuses out there.”
Toles has been one of the more unlikely members of this Dodgers team. He was out of baseball in 2015 after being released by Tampa Bay. He signed with the Dodgers last fall and started this spring in Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know we had a guy named Andrew Toles in the minor leagues at the start of the year,” Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said. “To meet him and understand where he’s been and come from and the type of guy that he is and the type of player that he is, it’s pretty special to see, for sure.”
With Toles in the lineup, veteran Howie Kendrick is bound for the bench, at least for the first game. Kendrick posted a .503 OPS in the final month of the season.
Kendrick is still likely to start against left-hander Gio Gonzalez later this series. He could play either left field or second base. The Dodgers have been pleased with utility infielder Charlie Culberson’s at-bats against left-handed pitchers, meaning that Culberson could also start at second.