The Los Angeles Dodgers hoped September would bring about improved health and a seventh consecutive National League West title, and while the the latter was accomplished, there’s been mixed results with injuries.
Dylan Floro, David Freese and Ross Stripling each returned on the first day active rosters expanded. The likes of Rich Hill, Max Muncy and Alex Verdugo were expected to follow in the ensuing weeks.
Hill was reinstated from the 60-day injured list on Thursday but couldn’t make it through the first inning because of a strained MCL in his left knee. Muncy returned for the series opener against the New York Mets, but Verdugo is not yet participating in workouts because of lingering back trouble.
Meanwhile, also this month, the Dodgers have dealt with a limited Justin Turner and Joe Kelly. Turner isn’t expected to play through the weekend because of a sprained left ankle, while Kelly is dealing with an unspecified injury in the lower half of his body.
He pitched Sept. 1 but wasn’t back on the mound until six days later, when manager Dave Roberts revealed there has been some issue. Kelly appeared in Friday’s win over the Mets, allowing one run before getting out of a bases-loaded jam he inherited from Clayton Kershaw.
Following the game, the right-hander said his condition continues to improve, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Definitely the best it’s felt was today. Things are trending in the right direction.”
Supporting Kelly’s claim was a play he made on a ball hit to his left. He fielded the tapper and made an accurate throw to home plate to record a force out. An RBI single followed, though Kelly then induced another groundout.
In addition to Kelly’s injury possibly worsening, the Dodgers purposely avoided using him with any frequency this past week to avoid potentially compromising his mechanics. After a rough start to his Dodgers career, the 31-year-old has emerged as one of the team’s better relief pitchers.
He’s allowed just one run in 3.2 innings over four appearances during September. Prior to this, Kelly also produced a stretch of nine consecutive scoreless innings across 10 games in August before he allowed three runs on Aug. 29.