Gavin Lux mum on why he reported late to Dodgers training camp
Gavin Lux declined to disclose the cause for his late arrival to the Dodgers’ training camp this month, electing to keep what he called “personal information” to himself during a Thursday video conference.
“I don’t think it’s really anybody’s business,” said Lux, who missed the first week of Dodgers camp before reporting July 10. “I’m here and ready to go and focused on moving forward.”
Despite his late start, Lux doesn’t feel behind as he embarks on the season as the National League rookie of the year frontrunner. The former first-round pick hit .240 with two home runs in 75 at-bats last year and was able to face consistent live pitching while waiting out the quarantine at his home in Wisconsin.
“I took a couple days off since we canceled spring training,” he said, noting that he never contemplated opting out of the season. “That three-month break, I wouldn’t say you lose baseball instincts. But it’s just like anything else. You’ve just got to get back into it. It’s going to be crazy here any way you look at it.”
The Dodgers are heavy favorites to win their eighth consecutive National League West Division title in large part because the competition is ho-hum.
Manager Dave Roberts hasn’t finalized Lux’s role — which entering the season was widely expected to be as the team’s primary second baseman — but plans to give the club’s top prospect plenty of playing time in his first full MLB season.
“I think our goal is just [to] get Gavin as many innings under his legs, get his feet under him, and then try to throw as many at-bats as we can,” Roberts said.
Still, entering a year in which few other National League rookies seemed poised for a breakthrough (St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson and Washington Nationals infielder Carter Kieboom are considered the two other likeliest rookie of the year candidates), Lux is hoping to successfully pursue aspirations of a personal and team-wide variety.
“I’d be lying if I wasn’t” aiming for rookie of the year honors, he said. But, “I’d rather win a World Series than rookie of the year. That’s the main goal.”
Dodgers not considering venue change
Roberts confirmed the Dodgers are currently not considering an alternative site for home games, despite an L.A. County quarantine rule that requires any person who comes into close contact with someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days even if they don’t test positive or exhibit symptoms.
The rule — similar to a mandate instituted in the District of Columbia that has prompted the Nationals to explore alternative sites, according to the Washington Post — has caused Dodgers players to miss camp time this month.
“I know that the conversation from our guys has been discussed with the board and health officials,” Roberts said from the Dodger Stadium media room. “I don’t know how this is resolved, if there’s any finality. I don’t think that we’re considering any alternative site. So until I hear more, I’m expecting for all of our home games [to be played] here.”
Roberts said starting pitcher Walker Buehler will throw two innings in an intrasquad game Friday as he continues to build up stamina for the season. . . . The Dodgers placed catcher Keibert Ruiz on the 10-day injured list Wednesday for reasons Roberts was not allowed to disclose. Ruiz, a 21-year-old ranked the club’s No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is the only member of the 40-man roster who has yet to report to training camp. ... In Thursday’s intrasquad game, starter Josiah Gray threw four innings, relievers Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen tossed one each and Kike Hernandez hit a grand slam.
Four years after debuting as a 19-year-old Dodgers prospect, this will be the first season Julio Urías begins as a major league starter.
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