Dodgers on the verge of getting Max Scherzer and Trea Turner
The Dodgers acquired veteran left-hander Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon, a deal that probably didn’t excite the team’s fan base all that much.
It turned out Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, was just getting warmed up.
The Dodgers were “very close” to acquiring ace right-hander Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals on Thursday evening, a blockbuster deal that would greatly enhance the team’s chances of winning their second straight World Series championship.
The trade was confirmed by a person familiar with negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly about them. Scherzer, according to the person, agreed to waive his rights as a player with 10 years of service time and five with the same team to veto the trade.
The Dodgers will reportedly send their top two prospects, catcher Keibert Ruiz and pitcher Josiah Gray, as well as “mid-level” prospects Donovan Casey, a double-A outfielder, and Gerardo Carrillo, a double-A right-hander, to the Nationals.
Another person familiar with negotiations was not sure if the deal would be finalized Thursday night. “Just a lot of moving parts and details,” the person said.
Giants defeat Dodgers, 5-0
Dodgers: Left-hander and former Dodger Jake McGee now pitching for the Dodgers. Muncy grounded to short. Turner flied to center. Bellinger grounded to first.
Final score: Giants 5, Dodgers 0
Giants lead 5-0 after eight innings
Dodgers: Right-hander Tyler Rogers now pitching for the Giants. Slater moves to left, Duggar in at center. Barnes struck out swinging. Beaty struck out looking. Taylor struck out swinging.
Giants: Right-hander Brusdar Graterol pitching for the Dodgers. Duggar grounder to third. Slater struck out swinging. Flores singled to center. Yaz popped to short.
Score after eight: Giants 5, Dodgers 0
Dodgers acquire pitcher Danny Duffy from Royals
The Dodgers acquired left-hander Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday for a player to be named later, the team announced. The Dodgers also received cash considerations from the Royals.
Duffy, 32, is on the injured list because of a flexor strain but he is expected to return in August. Though he has been a starter for most of his 11-year career, he could serve in a high-leverage, multiinning relief role for the Dodgers, much like Julio Urias has in recent seasons.
The Dodgers are also in need of rotation help having lost Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery in early May, Trevor Bauer to a domestic-violence investigation in late June and Clayton Kershaw to an elbow injury in early July. Kershaw is expected to return in early August.
Duffy is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 13 games — 12 of them starts — this season, with 65 strikeouts and 22 walks in 61 innings. A graduate of Cabrillo High in Lompoc and a third-round pick of the Royals in 2007, he has a 68-68 career record and 3.95 ERA.
Duffy is making $15.5 million this season and will be a free agent this winter. Duffy waived his rights to veto a trade as a player with 10 years in the big leagues and five with one team.
Giants extend lead to 5-0
Dodgers: Pollock flied to right. Pujols struck out swinging. Zach McKinstry, batting for Vesia, struck out swinging.
Giants: Left-hander Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Ruf grounded to third. Turner dealt with a tricky hop of the seam of the grass and dirt. Solano singled to center. Crawford struck out swinging. Wade doubled to left-center, scoring Solano. Casali was walked intentionally. Wade was out at third on a runner’s fielder’s choice.
Score after seven: Giants 5, Dodgers 0
Dodgers leave bases loaded in top of sixth, trail 4-0
Dodgers: Wade in at left. Barnes grounded to short. Beaty walked on six pitches. Taylor grounded to second, forcing Beaty. They could have turned two, but Solano bobbled the ball while fielding it. No error, because you can’t assume the double play. Muncy singled to left, Taylor to second. First time the Dodgers have had two baserunners on. Turner walked on 10 pitches. He took some really close pitches and fouled off some tough pitches. Great at-bat. And that’s it for Cueto. Left-hander Jarlin Garcia now pitching for the Giants. Bellinger struck out swinging.
Giants: Alex Dickerson was announced to hit for Garcia. That brought left-hander Alex Vesia in to replace Bickford. Dickerson struck out swinging. Slater singled to right. Flores struck out swinging. Slater stole second. Yaz flied to left/
Score after six: Giants 4, Dodgers 0
Giants 4, Dodgers 0 after five
Dodgers: Pollock singled to center. Pujols struck out swinging. McKinney grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Giants: Yaz grounded to second. And that’s it for Price, he is replaced by right-hander Phil Bickford. Ruf tripled to right-center. Solano struck out looking. Crawford was walked intentionally. LaMonte Wade Jr., batting for Estrada, was walked intentionally. Casali struck out swinging.
Score after five: Giants 4, Dodgers 0
Giants extend lead to 4-0
Dodgers: Muncy struck out swinging. Turner grounded to short. Bellinger struck out swinging.
Giants: Estrada grounded to short, but Taylor couldn’t pick it up.. E-6. Casali flied to right. Cueto sacrificed. Slater singled to center, scoring Estrada. Flores popped to second.
Score after four: Giants 4, Dodgers 0
It’s 3-0 Giants after three
Dodgers: Billy McKinney struck out looking. Austin Barnes singled to right. David Price sacrificed Barnes to second. Taylor grounded to short.
Giants: Ruf lined to right. Solano grounded to second. Crawford popped to short.
Score after three: Giants 3, Dodgers 0
After two innings, Giants lead 3-0
Dodgers: Cody Bellinger flied to right. AJ Pollock singled to center. Albert Pujols grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Giants: Curt Casali flied to left. Johnny Cueto hit a high bouncer up the middle and beat it out for a single. Slater grounded to third, forcing Cueto. Turner made a nice backhanded grab of that ball. Flores doubled to right-center, scoring Slater. Yaz struck out looking.
Score after two: Giants 3, Dodgers 0
Giants take 2-0 lead in the first inning
Dodgers: Right-hander Johnny Cueto pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor flied to left. Max Muncy struck out swinging. Justin Turner grounded to second.
Giants: Left-hander David Price pitching for the Dodgers. Austin Slater lined to left. Wilmer Flores walked on five pitches. Mike Yastrzemski walked on five pitches. Darin Ruf struck out looking. Donovan Solano walked on five pitches, loading the bases. Brandon Crawford doubled to left, scoring Flores and Yastrzemski, Solano to third. Thairo Estrada grounded to short.
Score after one: Giants 2, Dodgers 0
Mookie Betts could play some second base when he returns from hip injury
SAN FRANCISCO—Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it’s “possible” Mookie Betts will play some second base when he is activated off the injured list on Sunday, though Betts will play right field in his first game back at Arizona.
Betts has played through shoulder, forearm and back ailments and was finally placed on the 10-day injured list because of right-hip inflammation on Sunday. The Dodgers believe some starts in the infield, where less running is required, could ease the stress on his body.
Betts came up as an infielder in the Boston farm system and made 14 starts at second base for the Red Sox in 2014 and one start there for the Dodgers last season. He takes ground balls in the infield most days during batting practice.
The leadoff hitter is batting .270 with an .870 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 14 homers, 25 doubles, 40 RBIs and 63 runs in 82 games this season.
Cody Bellinger returns to center field for series finale against Giants
SAN FRANCISCO—Cody Bellinger is back in center field for the Dodgers for Thursday’s series finale in Oracle Park, where left-hander David Price (4-0, 3.35 ERA) will oppose San Francisco Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (6-5, 4.09 ERA) in a 12:45 p.m. game.
Bellinger moved to first base for the first two games of the series to ease the stress on a tight left hamstring. He committed a throwing error that allowed the Giants to score the winning run in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win and hit a solo homer in Wednesday night’s 8-0 victory.
Price, who pitched out of the bullpen for the first half of the season, is making his fourth straight start since replacing Trevor Bauer in the rotation in early July.
The veteran had three no-decisions in his first three starts, giving up four earned runs and 10 hits in 12 2/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking three for a 2.84 ERA and yielding a .213 batting average and .636 on-base-plus-slugging percentage to opposing hitters.
Bauer is on paid administrative leave while the Pasadena Police Department and Major League Baseball investigate domestic violence allegations against the right-hander.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, out since July 19 because of an oblique strain, was activated off the injured list before the game and will bat sixth.
DODGERS LINEUP: SS Chris Taylor, 2B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, CF Cody Bellinger, LF AJ Pollock, 1B Albert Pujols, RF Billy McKinney, C Austin Barnes, LHP David Price.
GIANTS LINEUP: CF Austin Slater, 3B Wilmer Flores, RF Mike Yastrzemski, 1B Darin Ruf, 2B Donovan Solano, SS Brandon Crawford, LF Thairo Estrada, C Curt Casali, RHP Johnny Cueto.
Dodgers defeat the Giants, 8-0
Dodgers: Right-hander Dominic Leone now pitching for the Giants. Tauchman in right field. McKinney struck out swinging. White struck out looking. Taylor singled to left. Muncy grounded to second.
Giants: Dickerson hit a nubber in front of the plate and Smith threw him out. Flores flied to right. Duggar singled to left. Duggar took second on defensive indifference. Ruf struck out swinging. The pitch got away from Smith but he recovered it and threw him out.
Final score: Dodgers 8, Giants 0
Dodgers take 8-0 lead on Cody Bellinger’s home run
Dodgers: Smith flied to center. Bellinger homered to right. Pollock flied to left-center. Beaty popped to third.
Giants: Right-hander Mitch White now pitching for the Dodgers. Estrada grounded to short. Mike Tachman, batting for Brebbia, singled to left. Yaz lined to left. Casali grounded to the pitcher.
Score after eight: Dodgers 8, Giants 0
Dodgers take 7-0 lead in top of seventh
Dodgers: Right-hander John Brebbia now pitching for the Giants. Pollock was hit by a pitch. Beaty popped to short. McKinney singled to right, Pollock to third. Buehler hit a grounder to third. Pollock tried to score, and the catcher didn’t catch the ball while trying to tag him. Run scores. First and second, one out. Taylor popped to third. Muncy doubled to deep center, scoring McKinney and Buehler. Turner flied to center.
Giants: Zach McKinstry in at third for the Dodgers. Duggar grounded to second. Ruf struck out swinging. Vosler struck out swinging. Through seven, Buehler made 98 pitches, giving up only three hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Score after seven: Dodgers 7, Giants 0
Dodgers maintain 4-0 lead through six
Dodgers: Muncy grounded to second. Turner grounded to third. Smith was hit by a pitch. Bellinger struck out swinging.
Giants: LaMonte Wade Jr., batting for the pitcher, struck out looking. Yaz singled to center. Casali flied to left. Dickerson struck out but took first when the ball got away from Smith. Score that a strikeout and wild pitch. Flores popped to first.
Score after six: Dodgers 4, Giants 0
Dodgers 4, Giants 0 after five
Dodgers: Left-hander Sammy Long now pitching for the Giants. Bellinger flied to left. Pollock singled to left-center. Beaty singled to center, Pollock to second. McKinney walked. Bases loaded, one out. Buehler struck out swinging. Taylor lined to short.
Giants: Ruf singled to center. Vosler grounded into a 6-3 double play. Estrada struck out looking.
Score after five: Dodgers 4, Giants 0
It’s 4-0 Dodgers after four
Dodgers: Curt Casali now catching for the Giants. Posey took a foul tip last inning, hope he’s not hurt too badly. Buehler struck out swinging. Taylor struck out looking. Muncy singled to left. Turner hit a grounder that clanked off of Vosler’s glove for an error. First and second, two out. Smith grounded to short, forcing Turner.
Giants: Casali struck out swinging. Dickerson grounded to short. Flores singled to center. Duggar grounded to second.
Score after four: Dodgers 4, Giants 0
Dodgers storm to 4-0 lead in top of third
Dodgers: Walker Buehler grounded to the pitcher. Taylor walked on nine pitches. Muncy singled to center, Taylor to second. Turner singled to right, Taylor scoring, Muncy to third. Smith tripled to right-center, Muncy and Turner scoring. There’s a reason they call right-center “Triples Alley” in Oracle Park. Bellinger popped to shallow right. Pollock singled to center, scoring Smith. It’s 4-0 Dodgers. Pollock stole second. Beaty walked on four pitches. Left-hander Jose Alvarez replaced DeSclafani. McKinney grounded to second.
Giants: Jason Vosler grounded to third. Thairo Estrada lined to left. Jose Alvarez walked on six pitches. Yaz flied to right.
Score after three: Dodgers 4, Giants 0
Scoreless after two innings
Dodgers: Will Smith singled to right. Cody Bellinger struck out swinging. AJ Pollock singled to right, Smith to second. Matt Beaty flied to center. Billy McKinney flied to left.
Giants: Wilmer Flores walked on seven pitches. Duggar struck out looking. Darin Ruf grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Score after two: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
No score after first inning
Dodgers: Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor struck out swinging. Max Muncy flied to left. Justin Turner struck out swinging.
Giants: Right-hander Walker Buehler, celebrating his 27th birthday today, pitching for the Dodgers. Mike Yastrzemski popped to second. Buster Posey grounded to second. Alex Dickerson struck out swinging.
Score after one: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
Shortstop Corey Seager and right fielder Mookie Betts expected to be activated this weekend
SAN FRANCISCO—The long-awaited return of Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, who has experienced several setbacks in his recovery from a right-hand fracture, appears imminent.
Manager Dave Roberts said before Wednesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants in Oracle Park that “our hope is there is going to be an activation this weekend,” when the Dodgers play a three-game series at Phoenix.
Seager played in simulated games at the team’s Phoenix spring-training complex on Tuesday and Wednesday, and he’s scheduled for another game Thursday. He will take Friday off and, barring setback, rejoin the Dodgers Saturday or Sunday.
The Dodgers thought Seager, who fractured the fifth metacarpal when he was hit on the back of the right hand by a fastball from Miami’s Ross Detwiler on May 15, would be back by early July. But he plateaued in his rehabilitation before the All-Star break, and a bone scan showed that his hand had not totally healed.
“It’s been the last five or seven days that he’s felt really good and recovering the right way,” Roberts said, “and nothing is compensated with his swing.”
The left-handed-hitting Seager, the reigning National League Championship Series and World Series most valuable player, hit .265 (39 for 147) with a .783 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, four homers and 22 RBIs in 37 games this season before getting hurt.
The Dodgers had waffled on whether to have Seager play a few minor league games before activated. It appears they have decided this week to have Seager return to big-league action after a 10-week absence.
“Just having him in there, the presence, getting him in tune with his swing, his defense at shortstop … the net is a no-brainer,” Roberts said.
Mookie Betts, out because of right hip inflammation, also took ground balls, ran and played catch on Wednesday, and Roberts said the right fielder will likely be activated on Sunday, the day he is eligible to come off the injured list.
Keep track of all the trade deadline deals in one place
Trade season is in full swing, and the rumor mill is heating up. With just two days to go until the deadline, The Times is keeping track of everything that goes on right here. We’ll update this page regularly through the deadline as more moves happen, so check back regularly.
Diamondbacks trade infielder Eduardo Escobar to Brewers for catcher/outfielder/first baseman Cooper Hummel and third baseman Alberto Ciprian
Analysis: Milwaukee adds Escobar, a switch-hitting bat who got an All-Star nod this season and can hit for power. That should help their chances of making a playoff run. On Arizona’s side, the Diamondbacks are currently the worst team in baseball. Offloading a 32-year old for prospects is a self-explanatory move.
Hearing on restraining order request in Trevor Bauer’s sexual assault case is postponed
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer’s hearing on whether the woman who has accused him of sexual assault should be granted a restraining order has been moved to Aug. 16-18, according to a Los Angeles Superior Court filing Wednesday.
The hearing had been set for Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 19 after both sides estimated at their initial court appearance last week that the proceedings would take three days.
Bauer is on administrative leave from the Dodgers through Aug. 6 under an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players union, the third time his original paid administrative leave from July 2 has been extended. The new dates for the hearing likely mean MLB will seek another extension of the leave.
A look at the prospects the Dodgers could move at the trade deadline
SAN FRANCISCO — Though a flurry of trades in recent years has depleted some of the depth in the Dodgers’ farm system, the team’s top decision-maker believes he has enough prospect capital to acquire an ace-caliber pitcher such as Max Scherzer or Jose Barrios before Friday’s trade deadline.
“I think we have a really good system right now,” Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, said this week. “And the top end of our system, I think, is really strong.”
Venezuelan catchers Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya are believed to be among the most coveted Dodgers prospects in trade talks, and pitchers Josiah Gray, Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot are sure to garner interest.
It doesn’t always take a bundle of top prospects to acquire a rental player such as Scherzer, the Washington Nationals ace who is in the final year of a seven-year, $210-million deal and reportedly would prefer to be traded to one of the three National League West contenders.
Lack of execution against Giants has become an issue
SAN FRANCISCO — The big games are often determined by who does the little things right, and in that department, the Dodgers have come up extremely small against the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.
First baseman Cody Bellinger made an ill-advised, across-the-diamond throw that sailed far over the head of third baseman Justin Turner on Tuesday night, allowing the Giants to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory in Oracle Park. The winning rally started with a pair of Blake Treinen walks.
In the top of the eighth, with the score tied, runners on second and third and one out, Dodger slugger Max Muncy failed to lift a fly ball over a drawn-in infield, grounding to first baseman Darin Ruf, who threw home to nail Luke Raley. Turner then flied to right to end the inning.
Dodgers look for another quality start from Walker Buehler vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO—The Dodgers will send their best pitcher to the mound against their National League West rivals Wednesday night when right-hander Walker Buehler opposes San Francisco Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani in Oracle Park.
Buehler is 10-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 20 starts this season, striking out 131 and walking 29 in 128 2/3 innings. He has completed six innings or more in 19 starts and given up three earned runs or less in 18 starts. DeSclafani is 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 20 starts.
The first-place Giants won three of four games in Dodger Stadium last week and won Tuesday night’s series opener 2-1, scoring the winning run on first baseman Cody Bellinger’s eighth-inning throwing error. The Dodgers are three games back in the division.
DODGERS LINEUP: SS Chris Taylor, 2B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, C Will Smith, 1B Cody Bellinger, CF AJ Pollock, LF Matt Beaty, RF Billy McKinney, RHP Walker Buehler.
GIANTS LINEUP: RF Mike Yastrzemski, C Buster Posey, LF Alex Dickerson, 2B Wilmer Flores, CF Steven Duggar, 1B Darin Ruf, 3B Jason Vosler, SS Thairo Estrada, RHP Anthony DeSclafani.
Giants defeat Dodgers, 2-1
The Dodgers moved Cody Bellinger from center field to first base on Tuesday night in an effort to ease the stress on his tight left hamstring, manager Dave Roberts instructing Bellinger to “play with a governor” to avoid aggravating the injury.
Whatever governor Bellinger employed in the opener of a three-game series against the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers may want to recall it before Wednesday night’s game.
Bellinger made a risky throw across the diamond that sailed far over the head of third baseman Justin Turner in an attempt to nail a runner he had little chance of getting, the error allowing the Giants to score the winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers before a crowd of 32,878 in Oracle Park.
With the score tied 1-1, Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen walked Buster Posey and Mike Yastrzemski to open the bottom of the eighth. Darin Ruf grounded up the middle to second baseman Max Muncy, who fielded the ball and chased Yastrzemski back toward first before throwing to Bellinger for an out.
Bellinger pump-faked to second base, and when he saw Posey’s momentum carrying him a bit toward home, he unleashed a throw to third just as Muncy was jogging into his line of vision. Bellinger’s throw reached the protective netting down the left-field line on a fly, allowing Posey to score for a 2-1 lead.
“I haven’t watched it,” Bellinger said, when asked if Muncy screened him on the play. “J.T. mentioned something. It’s possible. I don’t know how I would have thrown it that high. It was a horrible throw. I’ll go back and watch it on video and see what happened on that play.”
Roberts did watch a replay and was convinced Muncy may have run interference.
“I looked at it, and Muncy got kind of caught in the crossfire with the pump-fake after the exchange,” Roberts said. “I think that on release, he saw Muncy a little bit and overshot it.”
Bellinger’s error opens door for Giants to take 2-1 lead
Dodgers: Right-hander Tyler Rogers now pitching for the Giants. Duggar in at center. Raley singled to left. McKinstry struck out swinging. Taylor doubled to center, Raley stopping at third. Muncy grounded to first, Raley out trying to score. Turner flied to right.
Giants: Posey walked on six pitches. This game has all the smell of a Giants victory. Yaz walked on six pitches. Ruf hit a grounder to second. He threw to first for the out, and Bellinger, trying to get the runner at third, threw it about 12 miles over Turner’s head, allowing the runner to score. That’s what happens when you haven’t made a throw from first in a while. Flores grounded to second. Wade struck out swinging.
Score after eight: Giants 2, Dodgers 1
Blake Treinen gets Dodgers out of a jam in the seventh, still 1-1
Dodgers: Left-hander Jarlin Garcia now pitching for the Giants. Smith grounded to first. Bellinger struck out swinging. Pollock doubled off the wall in right. McKinney grounded up the middle, right where the shortstop was stationed.
Giants: Right-hander Jimmy Nelson now pitching for the Dodgers. Wade struck out swinging. Solano was hit by a full-count pitch. Estrada was hit by the very next pitch. And that brings out pitching coach Mark Prior. First and second, one out. Alex Dickerson, batting for Garcia, hit a little looper to short that Taylor caught. Steven Duggar was announced to hit for Slater, and that’s it for Nelson. It’s double switch time. Zach McKinstry comes in to play right field and right-hander Blake Treinen is now pitching. Duggar popped to short.
Score after seven: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
Dodgers strike first, take 1-0 lead in the fifth
Dodgers: Bellinger singled to right. Pollock grounded slowly to short, Bellinger to second. McKinney singled to right-center, scoring Bellinger with McKinney throw out trying to advance to second. Raley grounded to the pitcher.
Giants: Wade struck out swinging. Solano struck out swinging. Estrada lined to the pitcher.
Score after five: Dodgers 1, Giants 0
After four, it’s 0-0
Dodgers: Muncy grounded to second, who was actually playing shallow right. Turner flied to right. Smith flied to right.
Giants: Posey singled to center. Yaz flied to left. Ruf flied to center. Flores flied to right.
Score after four: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
It’s nil-nil after three
Dodgers: Luke Raley grounded to second. Julio Urías struck out looking. Taylor flied to right. Webb is on his game tonight.
Giants: Donovan Solano grounded to third. Thairo Estrada singled to left-center. Logan Webb bunted Estrada to second. Slater grounded to second.
Score after three: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
No score after two innings
Dodgers: Cody Bellinger struck out looking. AJ Pollock grounded to short. Billy McKinney struck out looking.
Giants: Darin Ruf struck out looking. Wilmer Flores grounded to the pitcher. LaMonte Wade Jr. struck out looking.
Score after two: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
It’s scoreless after one inning
Dodgers: Right-hander Logan Webb pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor struck out swinging. Max Muncy flied to left. Justin Turner walked on four pitches. Will Smith flied to center.
Giants: Left-hander Julio Urías pitching for the Dodgers. Austin Slater singled. Buster Posey grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Mike Yastrzemski grounded to short.
Score after one: Dodgers 0, Giants 0
Rehab report: Injury updates on Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel
SAN FRANCISCO—Mookie Betts, on the injured list because of right-hip inflammation, had what manager Dave Roberts called “his best day in the last couple of weeks,” running and doing agility drills in the outfield before Tuesday night’s game against the Giants.
“Today was certainly very encouraging,” Roberts said.
Roberts said there is a decent chance that Betts, who hasn’t played since July 19, will be able to return to the lineup on Sunday in Arizona, the first day he would be eligible to be activated.
Shortstop Corey Seager, out since May 16 because of a right-hand fracture, played in camp games at the team’s Phoenix spring-training complex on Monday and Tuesday and will remain in Arizona this week. Roberts said there is no plan yet for Seager to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Reliever Joe Kelly, who tweaked his right hamstring while saving Sunday’s win over Colorado, is not available Tuesday night. Roberts said the right-hander played catch and threw 10-12 pitches off a mound.
“Our hope,” Roberts said, “is that he’ll be available tomorrow.”
Corey Knebel, out since April 24 because of a right-lat strain, retired the side in order with two strikeouts in one inning for triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday night, his fastball touching 95 mph. It was the first game of a rehab stint that is expected to include at least another two or three appearances.
Clayton Kershaw takes big step in return from left-elbow injury
SAN FRANCISCO—Clayton Kershaw took a significant step in his return from left-elbow inflammation on Tuesday, throwing a three-inning, 45-pitch simulated game in Oracle Park.
“I feel like it went all right,” said Kershaw, who was 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts before going on the injured list on July 7. “I got it done. That stuff is no fun. Now, I just have to build up.”
Manager Dave Roberts said the team will wait a day to see how Kershaw comes out of Tuesday’s workout before determining the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner’s next step.
“The stuff looks good to the eye,” Roberts said. “Most important, he came out of it feeling good physically and mentally. Tomorrow will give us more clarity on his next step.”
Kershaw could push himself to the four-inning, 60-pitch range in another simulated game or in a minor league rehabilitation start. Or, if the Dodgers are comfortable with a shorter outing, Kershaw could make his next appearance in a major league game.
“It’s really not up to me,” Kershaw said. “It’s just a matter of what the team needs. I’m not built up to 100 pitches. If I have to be built up to 90-100 pitches, I’ll probably have to do another [simulated game or rehab start], but if less than that is good enough to be back, I’ll be back.”
Cody Bellinger moves from center field to first base, and Max Muncy returns to lineup for NL West showdown against Giants
SAN FRANCISO—Cody Bellinger will make his first start of the season at first base Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, manager Dave Roberts moving the center fielder to the infield in an effort to ease the stress on Bellinger’s tight left hamstring.
Bellinger has made 212 starts at first base and has a .996 fielding percentage, committing seven errors in 1,803 chances. He injured the hamstring Friday night against the Colorado Rockies, when he snapped an 0-for-25 skid with a double and a triple.
Roberts said the move to first base will be more “short-term,” probably just for this three-game series against the Giants. The Dodgers have instructed Bellinger to play with a “governor,” which might be asking a lot for a player known for his all-out efforts in the field and on the bases.
“I have to continue to remind him that his teammates, the coaches, understand that he’s in there and is going to do the best he can but not to push it,” Roberts said, “because it could be more harmful if he does.”
Max Muncy also returned from a three-day paternity leave, his wife, Kellie, giving birth to the couple’s first child, a girl, on Friday in Phoenix. Muncy, who will play second base and bat second, is hitting .317 (13 for 41) with eight home runs, 10 RBIs and 11 runs in 13 games against the Giants this season.
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías (12-3, 3.63 ERA) will oppose right-hander Logan Webb (4-3, 3.54 ERA) in the 6:45 p.m. game in Oracle Park.
The Giants (62-37) are two games ahead of the Dodgers (61-40) in the National League West and won three of four games in Dodger Stadium last week, coming from behind in the ninth inning against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the final two games.
DODGERS LINEUP: SS Chris Taylor, 2B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, C Will Smith, 1B Cody Bellinger, CF AJ Pollock, RF Billy McKinney, LF Luke Raley, LHP Julio Urias.
GIANTS LINEUP: CF Austin Slater, C Buster Posey, RF Mike Yastrzemski, 1B Darin Ruf, 3B Wilmer Flores, LF LaMonte Wade Jr., 2B Donovan Solano, SS Thairo Estrada, RHP Logan Webb.
Andrew Friedman will sleep easier if he can trade for a starting pitcher
Andrew Friedman wears an Oura ring, which monitors resting heart rate, heart variability, body temperature, activity, light sleep, deep sleep and sleep duration and delivers data and fitness suggestions to the smartphone of the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.
With Friday’s trade deadline approaching, the Dodgers in a three-team dogfight for the National League West title and Friedman working furiously around the clock to upgrade a thin rotation, his Oura is clearly at odds with his aura.
“It’s not very impressed with me and my behavior right now,” Friedman said Monday, sounding groggy during a late-morning phone call. “It’s like, ‘You need to start winding down for bed at 10:30 p.m.,’ and I get angry at it. It’s a very inhumane way of life for a week.”
Friedman knows the drill. He endures and accepts the sleepless nights that come with swinging major deadline deals for such players as Rich Hill (2016), Yu Darvish (2017) and Manny Machado (2018), and with the August non-waiver trade period eliminated, there is even more urgency to complete a deal or two this week.
ICYMI: Dodgers win again, but some outside help might be needed
Max Muncy is expected to return to the Dodgers’ lineup for this week’s showdown series with the first-place San Francisco Giants. Mookie Betts, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager will not be back this week, and Cody Bellinger might or might not.
As the final two months of the season approach, the offensive help figures to come from within. The pitching help? This is the week we find out.
That became clearer on Sunday, in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies, when the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect made his first major league start but did not last beyond the fourth inning. And, in a potentially related development on the East Coast, the man who could become the best available starting pitcher in the trade market might have suddenly become available.