BALTIMORE -- Though he was not a prime candidate to join the Dodgers for the stretch run after last being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Aug. 18, Edwin Ríos was sent to the "stay hot" camp at the team's Camelback Ranch facilities in order to keep the at-bats coming and himself in playing form. If an unforeseen circumstance arose, he could be one of those called upon to fit in seamlessly.
On Tuesday, one such circumstance came to light. Manager Dave Roberts announced that Alex Verdugo will be shut down from baseball activities for two to three days as he nurses back stiffness that arose while he was nearing a comeback from an oblique strain last week. It is another setback in what has been an injury-marred second half for the 23-year-old rookie, and this one makes his return to the big league roster during the regular season all the more precarious.
"I think each day that we don't get him moving closer to playing makes it more bleak," Roberts said of Verdugo's chances to return. "We are still hopeful. The door is still open, but I think each day that passes gets a little bit tougher."
Verdugo sustained the back ailment while rehabbing with Rookie-level Ogden at the beginning of the month as he was nearing a return from a right oblique strain that has kept him away from the Dodgers since Aug. 6. Now, however, the clock is ticking for him to get back to playing form before October.
"Right now, he could do some things," Roberts said. "But with the acuteness of the pain, right now, the doctor's advice is to just give him a breather for a couple of days and then we'll see where we're at after that."
If this setback does indeed end Verdugo's rookie campaign, it'll erase from Roberts' disposal a lefty bat who was a starting outfielder for the Dodgers a majority of the season -- and one that produced a .294/.342/.475 slash line in 106 games.
So, for now, the Dodgers turn to Rios, who can provide a lefty bat off the bench that Los Angeles was expecting to have for the upcoming six-game road trip to Baltimore and New York.
Turner late scratch with nagging ankle
While Rios' callup was initially seen as a precaution for Justin Turner and his ongoing left ankle soreness, the Dodgers remain hopeful their third baseman is only sidelined one additional game.
Turner was in Tuesday's original starting lineup, but after experiencing some discomfort in his ankle while taking pregame swings, he alerted Roberts that it may be best to get another day to recuperate. He was available off the bench if needed, and Chris Taylor, originally penciled in at right field, moved over to make his first appearance at third base since 2017.
"It's enough that he feels trying to give it another day will benefit him," Roberts said. "It's one of those things where it's compromising just enough as far as on the offensive side taking swings earlier today. And, obviously, that would affect the defensive play."
Turner sustained the ailment on Friday night but played through it until he was removed for a pinch-runner Saturday and held out of the starting lineup on Sunday. With now three combined days to rest including Monday's off-day, Roberts is hopeful Turner will be back in there on Wednesday.
"It's something he could play through," Roberts said, "but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
• Taylor was not the only one affected by Turner's late scratch. Gavin Lux entered the lineup after Turner was removed, starting at second base and batting ninth for a rare nod against a southpaw in the form of Orioles starter Ty Blach.
"The rest of this season he's going to have to take at-bats against lefties since he's mostly not going to start against a left-hander," Roberts said. "Just to kind of see how it looks, and I know he's going to put good at-bats together."
• Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose spot was skipped in the rotation in Baltimore, threw a bullpen session at Camden Yards on Tuesday. Roberts was not sure whether Ryu would make his return this weekend against the Mets or the series after. The only thing for certain, for now, is Clayton Kershaw getting the ball Friday.