Staying healthy is on the Dodgers’ list of priorities over the next five weeks, right at the top alongside clinching their inevitable seventh straight division title, before the games carry significance again. On Wednesday, they got a reminder of how precarious avoiding injuries can be.
The scare surfaced in the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 6-4 win when San Diego Padres left-hander Matt Strahm plunked Max Muncy in the right wrist with a 94-mph fastball. Muncy exited the game. Muncy underwent a scan but X-ray equipment wasn’t available so he will undergo X-rays Thursday. The Dodgers announced he had a “right wrist contusion,” but that could change Thursday.
“Everything looks OK for now,” Muncy said. “Maybe just a bone bruise. We’re going to double check it tomorrow. Maybe the medical staff has more information. But from everything I’ve been told, we’re just going to double check it tomorrow and keep our fingers crossed.”
The incident served as a reminder that the Dodgers’ outlook, even with their considerable depth, can change in an instant. While the Dodgers boast perhaps the deepest 40-man roster in the majors, replacing the 29-year-old Muncy wouldn’t be easy.
An All-Star for the first time this season, Muncy is second on the Dodgers in home runs (33), runs batted in (87), and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.900). His 4.3 FanGraphs WAR entering Wednesday was tied for 21st in the majors. He is a significant member of the National League’s highest-scoring offense and the kind of player the Dodgers covet — a slugger with elite plate discipline.
“It’s one of those things, you definitely hold your breath, especially when you’re talking about fractures and 4 to 6 weeks, things like that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But you still got to go out there and play. You can’t cover guys up and not play them. It’s baseball, and that’s kind of the chance you take when you run somebody out there.”
It’s a chance the Dodgers will take 27 more times, until the regular season ends and they play Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 3 at Dodger Stadium.
“Obviously, the games are important,” Roberts said. “They all matter. But, yeah, where we fortunately put ourselves in the standings, you want to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders and part of that is being healthy. So, yeah, there’s certainly a balance because if something happens, you want to make sure guys are healthy and get to the second season.”