Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Miguel Rojas was among the several Los Angeles Dodgers who were expecting to participate in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, but he has withdrawn from playing for Team Venezuela.
Rojas’ decision stems from Gavin Lux suffering a torn ACL and sprained LCL in his right knee that will likely keep him out for the 2023 season. The injury shifted Rojas from a utility role to starting shortstop, and he wants to keep focused on preparing for the Dodgers.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking that I can’t go and participate with Venezuela,” Rojas said from the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch.
“And the reason why is a new opportunity opened up for me here to play every day at shortstop. I know I played for the organization a long time ago, but I just got to this organization, there’s a lot of new faces, a lot of new people that I need to know, that I need to get used to.
“And especially with my offseason, two wrist surgeries, I need to get at-bats, I need to get going, and my role on the Venezuelan team wouldn’t be playing every day. I would be more of a role player, a guy coming in late in the game to play defense. I don’t know how many at-bats I would get.
“I talked to the GM, the manager of the team and the people running the Venezuela team and I said, ‘You know what, I feel the necessity for me, for my career, for the organization, for the Los Angeles Dodgers to try to find a way to win a championship, and they are counting on me.’
“I need to stay and I need to keep building those relationships with guys, especially with Miggy (Varags) at second base, knowing that he’s going to be playing for the first time at second every day. It’s something that I don’t take easy and this is a hard decision.
“But at the end of the day, it’s what I need to do for my future and for the organization as well. “
The veteran infielder originally expressed great interest in playing for Team Venezuela once the Dodgers gave him the green light in his recovery from offseason wrist and hand ailments.
Rojas could still join Team Venezuela if he is able to get everyday at-bats, but for now, his focus will be on a majority split at shortstop in his 10th MLB season.
“There’s still a possibility that I become the shortstop, that everyday shortstop for the Venezuelan team if something happened throughout these days,” Rojas acknowledged.
“And the WBC starts the 11th, but I’m not going to be leaving the fifth anymore, like I was supposed to, to go to practice. I’m going to wait and I’m going to be ready. I got to be prepared if they want me and they need to play every day, I’ll be going there because my role change on this team.”
How Miguel Rojas rejoined Dodgers
The Dodgers acquired Rojas from the Miami Marlins this offseason in exchange for prospect Jacob Amaya. He spent his past eight seasons with the Marlins, providing stellar defense that put his name in multiple Gold Glove finalist conversations.
A search for infield depth behind Vargas and Lux created a need, and Rojas fit the bill. His bat leaves a lot to be desired, and after his injury-hampered 2022 season contributed to a career-low .605 on-base plus slugging, a bounce-back year is in order.
Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!