Dodgers Spring Training: Gavin Lux ‘Felt Good’ To Be Back On The Field

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The Los Angeles Dodgers took down the San Diego Padres in a 14-1 win in their Cactus League Opener on Thursday.

It was also Gavin Lux’s first game action since tearing his ACL and LCL in his right knee during last year’s Spring Training. Coincidentally, Lux suffered the injury at Peoria Sports Complex. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and run scored, getting the start in the designated hitter spot of the Dodgers lineup.

“It just felt good to run around and be a baseball player again,” Lux said following Thursday’s win. “Especially coming back here, where literally I blew it out. It was just fun to get some at-bats, feel normal again and do what you grew up doing.”

Returning to the same field in which he suffered the injury didn’t seem to be much of a hinderance for Lux, though he previously admitted to feeling some anxiousness with returning after a long recovery process.

“I don’t think it really mattered which field it was going to be on,” Lux said. “I think more just getting out, running the bases, taking swings and getting out of the box. It was a long year, so just being a baseball player again is the best thing I can ask for.”

Lux missed a year of baseball, and for a young player on the verge of a breakout season, going down with a serious injury is a significant setback. But his offseason preparation made it clear that Lux’s focus was on getting back to form.

“I think the first week after it happened, I kind of sat back and thought about it a lot,” Lux recalled.

“Freddie (Freeman), when he called me, was like, ‘Hey man, you can give yourself a couple days to be sad and once those days are over, you’ve got to get to work. Rehabbing is your job.’ That’s kind of the mindset I took and I didn’t really look back at it too much after the first week.”

Firmly taking hold of the starting role at shortstop might be the final thing for Lux to attain, and his continued work during the winter is showing itself early on in Spring Training.

“I think getting out and playing in an actual game, not a live BP or intrasquad, is kind of the last box you check. Now I’ve got to see how I bounce back,” Lux said.

How Gavin Lux can impact Dodgers lineup

The effect of a lack of offense at the shortstop position was certainly felt last season once Lux went down with the knee injury. Miguel Rojas was thrust from a backup role into a starting job.

Rojas’ strength is found in his glove, with his bat producing a 69 wRC+ in 423 plate appearances. Rojas’ .322 slugging percentage was a clear sign that he wasn’t a consistent RBI threat.

With Lux displaying early returns in Spring Training, the athletic infielder can impact the game with his upside left-handed bat and on the bases. The Dodgers will benefit from Lux’s ability to get on base, as he did at a solid clip during his best stretches in 2022.

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