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Injured Seager doesn't travel to Chicago

All-Star shortstop hasn't begun baseball activities due to back sprain
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- Injured Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has still not begun baseball activities and did not make the team flight to Chicago, where the National League Championship Series with the Cubs resumes tonight.

"Continued improvement today," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in a conference call, "but he's not going to be on the flight with us to Chicago."

CHICAGO -- Injured Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has still not begun baseball activities and did not make the team flight to Chicago, where the National League Championship Series with the Cubs resumes tonight.

"Continued improvement today," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in a conference call, "but he's not going to be on the flight with us to Chicago."

:: NLCS schedule and coverage ::

Seager sprained his lower back on a first-inning slide in the Game 3 clincher of the National League Division Series in Arizona last Monday. He played the entire game, but his back locked up the following day. Seager received an epidural injection for the pain and was left off the 25-man active roster for the NLCS presented by Camping World, replaced at shortstop by Charlie Culberson in the first two games of the series. Culberson is 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a sacrifice fly.

There had been speculation that a rapid recovery by Seager could put him in position to be a replacement for an injured teammate during this series, but that won't be possible until it returns to Los Angeles for Games 6 and 7, at the earliest, if those games are necessary.

If Seager hasn't resumed baseball activities in a full week, this is no minor tweak. It now sounds as if the Dodgers are just hopeful Seager would be available if they make it to the World Series presented by YouTube TV.

"He hasn't done anything baseball specific," Roberts confirmed after the club held a light workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday morning. "Number 1, we've got to get him in a place where physically he can play in a Major League game and endure those conditions as far as weather, to come back after a night game and play the next day. Right now, I wouldn't say we're close to that point yet."

Dress for NLCS: Get Dodgers' postseason gear

Game 3 lineup TBD
Roberts said he hasn't decided on lineup changes for Game 3 against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who beat Clayton Kershaw in last year's NLCS Game 6 clincher. The Cubs started lefties in the first two games of this series.

"We haven't come to a consensus yet," Roberts said.

Based on his lineups against Arizona's right-handed starters in the NLDS presented by T-Mobile, the most likely changes would be Curtis Granderson or even Andre Ethier for Enrique Hernandez in left field and Chase Utley for Logan Forsythe at second base. But Granderson is 1-for-11 in his career against Hendricks. Roberts could also move Chris Taylor to shortstop for Culberson and put Joc Pederson in center field, but Pederson is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Hendricks.

Adrian Gonzalez, whose herniated disk in his back affected his 2017 season, has been missed this month. Roberts said Gonzalez didn't want to be a distraction, knowing he is physically unable to play.

"One of those things, he's been such a great Dodger, is still a great Dodger, to be able to rest his back," Roberts said. "Obviously the guys, myself, we're in contact with him constantly. He's rooting like heck. I think he didn't want to be a distraction, wanted the guys who were active and the taxi guys that might be activated, they're traveling with us, that's an organizational policy he respects."

Gonzalez has one year remaining on his contract, and Roberts said the veteran first baseman is preparing to be ready for Spring Training.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Corey Seager