Dodgers News: Steven Souza Jr. ‘Hungry’ To Play Diamondbacks

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In need of some outfield depth after Cody Bellinger was placed on the 10-day injured list due to left hamstring tightness, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected the contract of Steven Souza Jr. before Wednesday’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.

To make room for the veteran outfielder on both the 40-man and active rosters, Nate Jones was designated for assignment.

Souza signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers at the end of March and had appeared in 22 games with Triple-A Oklahoma before his promotion to the Majors. He immediately was penciled into the starting lineup on Wednesday, batting seventh and playing right field.

Souza was responsible for one of the Dodgers’ five hits off Zack Wheeler, reaching on an infield single in the bottom of the fourth inning. The right-hander was tough to solve, tossing six shutout innings and collecting six strikeouts en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“He’s just got a good fastball. Commands it well, late movement on it, he’s aggressive in the strike zone,” Souza said of Wheeler. “And when you get a guy throwing 100 mph who can command the fastball like that, it’s going to be tough anytime.

“Especially with late movement. I thought we did a good job battling and getting some traffic on there. We were one hit away from opening the door.”

Even though the Dodgers fell short of sweeping the Phillies, Souza couldn’t help but feel proud to make it back to the Majors. His brief stop with the Chicago Cubs last year came on the heels of a significant left knee injury that cost him the entire 2019 season.

The 32-year-old credited his wife and children for always being by his side and supporting him. “They mean the world to me,” Souza said. “This journey that we all go through as baseball players, our families feel the burdens and ride the ups and downs.

“So to get to just soak in this moment with my son, my daughter, and most of all my wife — who is my rock — it’s a cool moment. It’s one of my favorite things about today.”

Prior to the 2019 season, Souza enjoyed stints with the Washington Nationals (2014), Tampa Bay Rays (2015-17) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2018). With the Dodgers heading to Chase Field this weekend, he’ll have an opportunity to face his former team.

“I’m hungry to go back there,” Souza said of facing the Diamondbacks. “Let’s just say that. I’m excited to get the opportunity to go back there and play those guys. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Dodgers-Diamondbacks pitching matchups

Having lost an unprecedented 22 consecutive road games that could potentially stretch to an MLB record 23 on Thursday, the Diamondbacks will look to turn things around at home against the Dodgers.

L.A. will send Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin to the mound in Arizona.

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