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Freese (hamstring) placed on IL, Smith recalled

@kengurnick
June 23, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- With David Freese forced to the 10-day injured list with what the Dodgers called a left hamstring strain, catcher Will Smith was recalled on Sunday because the Dodgers needed a right-handed hitter. Smith was initially known for his defense, but the impact he made at the plate

LOS ANGELES -- With David Freese forced to the 10-day injured list with what the Dodgers called a left hamstring strain, catcher Will Smith was recalled on Sunday because the Dodgers needed a right-handed hitter.

Smith was initially known for his defense, but the impact he made at the plate in his six-game recall earlier this year was amplified when he went on a home run tear after being sent back to Triple-A Oklahoma City when Austin Barnes returned from a slight groin strain.

“He’s earned the opportunity,” said manager Dave Roberts. “To have his bat off the bench to free up Russell [Martin] or whoever is playing, is a good thing. I’ll have him catch one of these games at some point.”

Roberts said he also plans to have Barnes play some second base and Martin some third base, as they have in the past. Roberts said Smith will not play the infield.

Freese had been dealing with what initially was called tendinitis. Whatever it is, Roberts said he’s hopeful Freese can be activated in the minimum 10 days.

Freese, 36, has appeared in 56 games, batting .308 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. In June, he’s hitting .366 with four homers and nine RBIs.

Roberts said the club is committed to continue playing Joc Pederson at first base. Pederson, in his second start there on Saturday, dropped one throw and double-clutched making another.

• The Dodgers participated in MLB’s PITCH HIT & RUN Team Championship at Dodger Stadium prior to Sunday’s Dodgers-Rockies game.

The winners: Age 7/8 Softball: Kyla Abad, Mililani, Hawaii; Age 9/10 Softball: Naomi Stremick, Honolulu; Age 11/12 Softball: Kaya-Lynn Burns, Lanai City, Hawaii; Age 13/14 Softball: Jennifer Mulligan, Los Angeles; Age 7/8 Baseball: Maxton Baracy, Santa Monica, Calif.; Age 9/10 Baseball: Ashton Bleum, Santa Maria, Calif.; Age 11/12 Baseball: Noah Chang, Redondo Beach, Calif.; Age 13/14 Baseball: Owen Martin, Lomita, Calif.

PITCH HIT & RUN is Major League Baseball’s official youth skills competition, and prior to today’s game, the top 12 baseball and top 12 softball qualifiers from Southern California and Hawaii competed here at Dodger Stadium in hopes of advancing to the National Finals during 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Week in Cleveland.

• Roberts still wouldn’t reveal his pitching plans for Tuesday and Wednesday, but there are indications that Julio Urias and Ross Stripling will share duties on Tuesday night, with a Minor League callup on Wednesday, most likely Tony Gonsolin.

Roberts said he wanted to see how the bullpen was used on Sunday before committing to the starters.

The fact that he let Walker Buehler throw 111 pitches on Friday night and Hyun-Jin Ryu 107 pitches on Saturday is a tipoff that the club intends to again go with a sixth starter on Wednesday to provide an extra day of rest, with the team in a stretch of 18 consecutive days with games.

That plan encountered an additional challenge when Rich Hill pitched only one inning on Wednesday and went on the injured list.

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