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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.

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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.

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.

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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

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


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