Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to make up for lost time rehabbing elbow
Max Muncy got tired of waiting around this offseason.
The Dodgers infielder first had to watch his team’s postseason from afar last year after he tore a ligament in his left elbow late in the season during a collision at first base.
Then he had to be patient while his elbow healed, spending several weeks in an immobilizing brace and several more trying to break up the scar tissue that built up.
Although he started swinging a bat in January, the waiting continued over the last three months because of Major League Baseball’s lockout, a work stoppage that prevented Muncy from communicating with team trainers or reporting to spring training on time.
“I’m ready for baseball,” he said. “I’m tired of sitting around.”
Muncy finally got the chance to take another step in recovery Saturday, going through on-field batting practice and defensive drills for the first time this offseason at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch complex.
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Muncy acknowledged that his elbow still doesn’t feel back to normal, but added that it was continuing to get better, agreeing with the estimate manager Dave Roberts gave Friday that the 31-year-old is currently around 85%.
“We’re able to get through some swings, able to get closer to normal,” he said. “Definitely not there, but it’s one of those injuries that may not be back to normal until next year. Who knows. But we’re feeling good right now.”
Roberts and Muncy have previously said they expect him to be ready for opening day, and Muncy added on Saturday that the extra time he’ll get before the delayed start to the season should help.
However, that might be the only silver lining of the work stoppage for Muncy, who also voiced frustration at what he called an “unnecessary” lockout that created extra complications for injured players like him.
“I couldn’t work with our guys, work with our trainers,” Muncy said. “They knew exactly what I needed and I couldn’t talk to them. That was a little frustrating. I still got good treatment, but it’s one of those things where you benefit from working with guys who know you and know how you work and everything like that.”
Since the lockout ended Thursday, Muncy has been trying to make up for the lost time. He said he spent much of his drive to spring training on the phone with Roberts, members of the training and coaching staff, and others in the organization, updating them on his status and mapping out his plan for camp.
“In a normal offseason, [those conversations] are happening over the course of three, four months,” Muncy said. “[This year] was different. It was all happening at once.”
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It made Saturday’s workout a welcome reprieve. Muncy took several rounds of swings at the plate, spent about 15 minutes fielding grounders and afterward endorsed the team’s pursuit of free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman — whose potential addition would likely force Muncy to play elsewhere in the infield or as the designated hitter.
“He’s one of the best hitters in baseball, and there’s really no argument to that,” Muncy said. “Any team would be happy to have him, especially us. He would fit into this lineup really well. We’d be extremely dangerous with him. That’s for sure.”
First though, Muncy is trying to make sure he’ll be ready to rejoin the Dodgers too. He spent enough time waiting around this winter. He’s been eager for a new season to get underway.
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