Will Smith returns to Dodgers lineup for series finale against Rockies

Dodgers catcher Will Smith tosses a ball out of play.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith tosses a ball out of play during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 1.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Will Smith was activated Sunday and will return to the Dodgers’ lineup as they go for a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

Smith hasn’t played since Aug. 12 because of neck stiffness that was originally caused by a collision at home plate earlier this month before becoming locked up again a few days later.

The second-year catcher started the season only six-for-32 (.188) at the plate but recorded two home runs and eight RBIs with on-base-plus-slugging of .748.


Rookie catcher Keibert Ruiz was sent back to the Dodgers’ training site in a corresponding move.

Smith will catch right-hander Ross Stripling, who will make his sixth start of the season. Stripling is trying to bounce back from a season-worst three-inning, seven-run (six-earned) start last week against the Seattle Mariners that raised his season ERA to 5.61, the highest for a Dodgers starter this season.

Cody Bellinger’s home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Dodgers their first walk-off win of the season, a 4-3 victory over the Rockies.

Aug. 22, 2020

The 30-year-old has had success with his signature curveball and retooled changeup, with opponents hitting below .240 against both pitches. But Stripling’s low-90s-mph fastball is being hit at a .302 average and has led to seven home runs, while his slider has conceded a .385 clip.

Elsewhere, Justin Turner won’t start Sunday after being hit in the hamstring by a pitch on Saturday. Manager Dave Roberts said Turner was experiencing swelling Saturday night.

Max Muncy will take Turner’s spot at third base, while left fielder Chris Taylor slots in third in the batting order.

Right-hander Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.90 ERA) will start for Colorado, trying to snap his team’s six-game losing streak and deny the Dodgers their second three-game sweep of the season.


Dodgers starting lineup for Sunday:
1. Mookie Betts — right field
2. Corey Seager — shortstop
3. Chris Taylor — left field
4. Cody Bellinger — center field
5. Joc Pederson — designated hitter
6. Max Muncy — third base
7. Kiké Hernández — second base
8. Matt Beaty — first base
9. Will Smith — catcher

Ross Stripling — Starting pitcher

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)