The Dodgers placing Ríos on the IL with the shoulder injury serves, partly, as an explanation for his severe troubles at the plate this season. Ríos is hitless in his last 37 plate appearances and hasn’t recorded a hit since April 13.
“I think that, as I talked to Edwin and kind of got more color on it, I think [the shoulder] had a big part to it,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He’s not an excuse maker, so he’ll never use it as an excuse. But I certainly believe that the shoulder affected performance largely.”
As a team, the Dodgers are in one of their worst slumps in the last couple of seasons. But nobody was struggling more than Ríos, who came into the season as the team’s top bat off the bench and a key piece to help Justin Turner get more days off throughout the season. So far, Ríos is hitting .078 with one home run and the team can’t seem to string anything together offensively when Turner is out of the lineup.
Roberts doesn’t know how long Ríos will be sidelined, but he hopes the time on the IL helps him both mentally and physically.
“To get away from this hot box and not have to see what the scoreboard says and hear about things, just to take a breath. I think it’ll be good for him mentally, physically, emotionally, just to get a reset,” Roberts said. “Number one, we have to get him back healthy and then get him slinging free and easy and get that shoulder healthy.”
In Ríos’ absence, the Dodgers will rely more on Turner to play nearly every day. That shouldn’t be too difficult with three scheduled off-days over the next week. Off the bench, the Dodgers will lean on Matt Beaty to be the big left-handed bat. The injury could also open up some more plate appearances for Keibert Ruiz, especially during the three-game set against the Angels this weekend.
As for Uceta, the 22-year-old right-hander gives the Dodgers another pitcher that is capable of tossing multiple innings. The Dodgers used eight relievers in Tuesday’s split doubleheader. Uceta made his big league debut on Friday against the Brewers, allowing two runs in two innings.
• Brusdar Graterol has been dealing with right forearm tightness, but an MRI came back negative on Tuesday, which was good news for the Dodgers. The right-hander has still not picked up a baseball, but he will travel to Arizona over the weekend to begin a throwing program. There’s still no timetable for his return, but it appears Graterol and the Dodgers avoided a big scare.
• Cody Bellinger (hairline fracture, left fibula) is still not running at full speed and there’s still no timetable for his return. Bellinger has been rehabbing at Camelback Ranch and has been taking consistent batting practice. Roberts said it’s possible that Bellinger goes to Triple-A Oklahoma City for live at-bats whenever he’s ready to do so.
• David Price (hamstring) has begun throwing off the mound at Camelback Ranch. Roberts doesn’t know the next time that the left-hander will get on the mound. Roberts said last week that Price’s injury is somewhere in the 4-6 week range.