Corey Seager returned to the Dodgers lineup on Thursday night after missing five games with a bad back and slugged a two-run homer in his first at-bat against Padres starter Chris Paddack.
Seager, injured diving for a ground ball in San Diego, served as designated hitter batting second and manager Dave Roberts said Seager could play defense as soon as Friday.
“I didn’t expect him to be ready to play in a game tonight,” Roberts said before Thursday's game. “We have all the confidence in the world that he can DH today and he could have conceivably played shortstop. He recovered quicker than we expected.”
Seager also walked and lined out three times.
Wood (shoulder) impresses in sim game
Alex Wood, on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation since July 28 after making just one start, pitched a two-inning simulated game on Thursday. Roberts said he was impressed, and Wood said he felt healthy.
“Made it out alive,” Wood said.
Roberts said Wood could next throw a bullpen session on Saturday, then a three-inning sim game on Tuesday, but he would need to be built up to at least four innings before being activated and he’s probably 10-14 days away from returning, at the soonest.
The Dodgers brought Gavin Lux and DJ Peters from the alternate training site to hit off Wood, who threw 30 pitches total.
Although Wood is a free agent after this season and recognizes the personal benefit of returning to the mound, there is no rush for the club, as rookie Tony Gonsolin gives the Dodgers six starters without Wood. Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling, Dustin May and Julio Urías are the others.
“I worked hard in the offseason and it stinks that as soon as we start I’m a little banged up. But in the big picture, I come back, contribute, help the team as much as I can, make the playoffs and do my part to help propel us forward to a World Series and the rest of it will take care of itself,” Wood said. “Just glad I’m feeling better.”
Wood said he believes he developed the inflammation doing shoulder exercises and that it worsened in his July 25 start against the Giants, causing his arm slot to drop six inches.
“That was kind of a red flag, that your shoulder is now affecting what you’re doing,” said Wood, who cited metrics for verifying the unwanted mechanical change.
Unlike his first start this year, Wednesday night's starter, Gonsolin, was not optioned the next day. Roberts said Gonsolin isn’t penciled in for another start yet, but he didn’t rule out using Gonsolin as a sixth starter with the club in a stretch of 17 games without a day off.
Smith still on the mend
Catcher Will Smith, who was removed from Wednesday night’s game with a sore neck resulting from a plate collision with Fernando Tatis, Jr. on Aug. 3, was out of the lineup Thursday night and is unlikely to play on Friday, Roberts said. Austin Barnes, whose production has picked up, is the only other active catcher on the Dodgers' active roster.
“It’s more localized right now, and when it is localized that’s a good thing,” Roberts said of the injury, adding that an IL stint for Smith is not likely at this point. “He’s day to day, and we’ll keep an eye on it.”