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Seager makes seamless return with 2-hit G1

'He really didn't miss a beat in the batter's box,' Roberts says of Dodgers shortstop
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Even without Corey Seager, the Dodgers dispatched the Cubs in five games in the National League Championship Series, flexing their depth to return to their first World Series since 1988. But questions loomed about just how healthy Seager would be when the Dodgers took on the Astros for the Fall Classic.

Seager, who was sidelined by a back strain for the NLCS, made his return to the Dodgers' lineup Tuesday for Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV and looked like his All-Star self, collecting two hits in a 3-1 Dodgers win. The shortstop spent the last round in Los Angeles receiving treatment for his back, hoping he would be healthy enough to play in a potential World Series.

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LOS ANGELES -- Even without Corey Seager, the Dodgers dispatched the Cubs in five games in the National League Championship Series, flexing their depth to return to their first World Series since 1988. But questions loomed about just how healthy Seager would be when the Dodgers took on the Astros for the Fall Classic.

Seager, who was sidelined by a back strain for the NLCS, made his return to the Dodgers' lineup Tuesday for Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV and looked like his All-Star self, collecting two hits in a 3-1 Dodgers win. The shortstop spent the last round in Los Angeles receiving treatment for his back, hoping he would be healthy enough to play in a potential World Series.

View Full Game Coverage

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"It sucked," Seager said about watching the series from home.

• Dress for the World Series: Get Dodgers postseason gear

The Dodgers have been careful with Seager, who is a key piece of their core and has been banged up throughout this season. Behind Justin Turner, he's been their most consistent hitter, posting a .295/.375/.475 slash line in the regular season a year after winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Before the series, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said there were a few hurdles for Seager to clear. He hadn't faced live pitching since the NL Division Series against the D-backs, and the Dodgers weren't sure how his back would react to fielding ground balls. Two workouts later, L.A. was confident Seager was ready to go and added him to the World Series roster.

In Seager's return to the lineup, his skipper slotted him in the six-hole instead of his usual No. 2 spot, to ease him back in the thick of things, and because the left-handed hitter wouldn't have the platoon advantage with southpaw Dallas Keuchel on the mound.

Despite the layoff and playing in his first World Series, Seager showed aggressiveness in the batter's box. The 23-year-old swung on the first pitch he saw from Keuchel in his first at-bat, but grounded into a double play. Seager pounced on the first pitch in his second battle vs. Keuchel, this time lacing a single to center field.

"I thought in the box he looked good," Roberts said. "I thought he took some good at-bats, even lining into that double play in the first inning."

Video: WS2017 Gm1: Seager on return to postseason roster

To teammate Enrique Hernandez, that's just "Corey being Corey."

"It's no mystery that Corey is one of the best hitters in the game," Hernandez said. "We played a few sim games and had some live at-bats, and when he took those live at-bats, it didn't look like he missed a beat."

And if there was an issue, Roberts couldn't tell, but Seager had one mishap, bobbling a ground ball in the seventh that could have led to an inning-ending double play. Seager is set to return to the two-hole for Game 2, with the Dodgers facing right-hander Justin Verlander.

"It's still the plan," Roberts said. "I think that we really try to focus on each game, each starting pitcher who is opposing that particular day individually. And I think that the at-bats Corey took tonight, getting him in the flow of the World Series, playoff baseball again. He really didn't miss a beat in the batter's box."

Video: WS2017 Gm2: Roberts on his plans for lineup in Game 2

Los Angeles has its No. 2 hitter back, and Seager is just enjoying being able to contribute in October.

"That was extremely tough," Seager said about missing the last round. "Not being around, not being in the dugout, not being with your teammates. Luckily enough, I'm here now."

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Corey Seager