Max Muncy could be headed for injured list with elbow bothering him again
Max Muncy has been available all year for the Dodgers.
But in his return from a torn left elbow ligament he suffered at the end of last season, the All-Star slugger hasn’t looked the same.
Muncy is batting just .150 in his first 41 games. He’s hit only three home runs. He has lacked his normal power at the plate.
Now, after banging his elbow into a wall while trying to catch a foul ball in Washington this week, Muncy could be headed for a stint on the injured list, too, manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Thursday.
Mitch White gets the start as the Dodgers open a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The game is underway.
While the team had yet to make a final decision prior to their series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, all signs pointed to a potential IL stint for Muncy.
He wasn’t in Thursday’s lineup, even with an opposing right-handed starting pitcher on the mound. The Dodgers added veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar to the taxi squad, flying him to Arizona in the event Muncy is placed on the IL in the coming days.
Roberts acknowledged the possibility openly, as well, saying Muncy’s elbow has been bothering him all year — and was only made worse when he ran into the boundary in foul ground on Monday against the Washington Nationals.
Roberts said Muncy also hit his elbow on the ground while trying to field a ground ball during the Nationals series.
“We all know he’s been grinding with the arm issue,” Roberts said. “I’m going to give him some time off to kind of reset the arm … I don’t know if there’s an aggravation in there. But we just have to kind of temper back a little bit.”
When Muncy sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament and other elbow damage in a collision at first base during the final regular season game last year — an injury that forced him to miss the postseason after a career-high 36-home run campaign — he and the Dodgers decided to not have him undergo surgery.
Mookie Betts recaptured some of his MVP form this month and has been on a torrid pace the last two weeks, strengthening the best offense in baseball.
Instead, he followed a non-surgical rehabilitation process over the winter, was back to swinging a bat by the time he showed up for spring training, and was the team’s opening day third baseman when the season began last month.
Entering the year, Muncy knew the injury might still pose lingering effects, both physically and mentally. But he wasn’t expecting to struggle like he has, entering Thursday with the lowest batting average and eighth-lowest slugging percentage among qualified major-leaguers.
“He’s been going through it and trying to figure it out himself,” Roberts said. “Just with the extra workload and everything like that, and getting it banged [this week] and stuff like that, maybe this might be some way that we can take a step back.
Roberts added: “Obviously the player doesn’t want to do that. But I think potentially for him and for us, it might be the best course of action.”
Other injury updates
Roberts shared injury updates on several other players Thursday.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw could throw a bullpen session as soon as next week, as he continues to work his way back from SI joint inflammation that, despite an epidural shot, caused pain in his lower back. His timeline to return remains to be determined.
Reliever Tommy Kahnle hasn’t started throwing again after going on the injured list earlier this month because of a bone bruise in his elbow, a residual effect from his recent rehab from Tommy John surgery. However, Roberts remained confident Kahnle would be back at “some point this summer.”
Starter Andrew Heaney completed a three-inning, 50-pitch bullpen session on Thursday. The left-hander, who has been out more than a month because of a shoulder issue, is scheduled to face live hitting for the first time on Sunday in a two-inning simulated game at the team’s Camelback Ranch facility in Glendale, Ariz.
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