Lux likely out for season with torn right ACL

February 28th, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers’ worst-case scenario came true on Tuesday as MRIs revealed that starting shortstop tore his right ACL and sprained his right LCL, effectively ending his 2023 season.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said an emotional Lux, as he tried to hold back tears. “You put in a lot of time and work and really enjoy the guys in the clubhouse -- the hardest part is just not being able to be on the field, for sure.”

Lux was running the bases in the sixth inning of Monday afternoon's game against the Padres when he sustained the injury, ducking for a split second to avoid a throw from third baseman Jantzen Witte. Lux stumbled in the process and his right knee buckled awkwardly after a couple of steps.

Lux said his cleat got caught up in the dirt once he ducked. Once he straightened his leg out, his knee gave out.

“Freak thing, I don’t even think it’s really avoidable,” Lux said. “In hindsight, I probably should have taken the throw to the nose and worn it. [Stuff] happens. Crush the rehab and move on.”

As soon as manager Dave Roberts came out to check on his shortstop, it was clear Lux was in a lot of pain and wasn’t going to be able to walk off the field. Lux said he heard a pop and knew immediately that the injury wasn’t just any other sprain that he’s suffered in the past.

Once Lux was back in the clubhouse, the Dodgers’ athletic training staff ran manual tests. Those showed some strength in the right knee, but it was obvious that Lux had suffered substantial damage. A Dodgers employee drove Lux’s truck with the shortstop riding in the back seat.

Upon further testing, the Dodgers were informed they would likely be without their starting shortstop for the remainder of the season.

“Gavin is obviously crushed,” Roberts said. “It’s a huge blow, my heart just goes out to him. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

So far this spring, Lux had drawn rave reviews from his teammates and coach Dino Ebel, with whom he worked closely this winter. First baseman Freddie Freeman repeatedly said Lux was his pick for breakout player of the year.

Lux, who hit .276 with six homers in 2022, put on nearly 20 pounds of muscle this offseason in hopes of gaining arm strength and hitting for more power. He spent most of the winter working out at Dodger Stadium, anticipating finally taking over as the team’s shortstop, after sitting behind Corey Seager and Trea Turner the last three seasons.

It was supposed to be Lux’s year to showcase what he could do at his natural position on an everyday basis. Instead, his season was cut short after just three Cactus League games.

“Pretty much everybody has come up to me and given me a hug,” Lux said. “Just shows you how good these guys in this clubhouse are.”

Lux will undergo surgery on his right knee on March 7 in Los Angeles, with Dr. Neal ElAttrache performing the surgery. Lux also said he has already begun talking to Dodgers right-hander Daniel Hudson, who just went through an ACL rehab of his own. 

“The first thing that I felt was really just pain for Gavin,” said Dodgers infielder , who watched the replay of the injury on social media. “A young kid that has been working his [butt] off to get ready for the season and to be the everyday shortstop for this team. He’s a big part of this club. I just feel bad for him that he has to go through whatever he’s going to have to go through.”

Behind Lux, the Dodgers are thin at shortstop. They were all in on letting the 25-year-old handle the everyday duties at the position. Instead, it’ll be Rojas manning most of the innings at shortstop this season, with as the primary backup. will also get some more playing time at second base, according to Roberts. 

Shortstop was the one position where this Dodgers team couldn’t afford to lose their starter. But that’s the reality they will face over the next six months, unless the club makes a move to bolster the position. Lux will have to wait another year for his opportunity.

“I think that’s one of the hardest parts,” Lux said while tears ran down his cheeks. “Every baseball player’s dream is to play shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers. So yeah, that’s one of the hardest parts.”