Dodgers Injury Update: Alex Verdugo Still Feeling Effects Of Oblique Strain

While the Los Angeles Dodgers are expecting to add a wave of players when active rosters expand on Sunday, and more in the week or two after, where Alex Verdugo fits into the equation remains unclear.

He was scratched from the lineup on Aug. 5 due to back soreness and although there was an initial belief it would not require a stint on the 10-day injured list, Verdugo was sidelined the following day with a right oblique strain.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts projected the rookie outfielder would require multiple weeks to recover. Verdugo was slow to resume baseball activities but has since been swinging a bat at Camelback Ranch.

He’s advanced from hitting off a tee to taking overhand tosses. Roberts had previously pointed to Sept. 1 as the earliest possible date Verdugo would be reinstated. Despite recent progress, that no longer is considered a possibility.

“There’s still some back and oblique soreness,” Roberts said this week. “You really can’t have a conversation about Alex coming back until he takes BP and faces pitchers. As we look out, I don’t see it being the first week of September.”

Complicating matters for the Dodgers is they can ill-afford to potentially rush Verdugo to the point where he suffers a setback. Doing so would not only jeopardize his availability through September but potentially the postseason as well.

Thus, the Dodgers have an overarching commitment to ensuring Verdugo — and their other injured players — are fully recovered prior to being activated. “It’s more of when these guys do get healthy,” Roberts said. “Just make sure that they’re right.”

Verdugo is batting .294/.342/.475 with 22 doubles, 12 home runs and 44 RBI. He took full advantage of an opportunity to start more regularly when A.J. Pollock required surgery on his right elbow.

Verdugo’s ability to handle left-handed pitching and play each of the three outfield positions at a high level made him all the more a commodity for Roberts, whether starting or coming off the bench.

In addition to Verdugo, Kristopher Negrón and Tyler White may join the Dodgers some point after rosters expand.