Lux, who has been handling most of the responsibilities at second base, was placed on the IL with a right wrist injury, retroactive to Friday. Lux was scratched from the lineup Thursday and has dealt with pain when swinging the bat.
“The throwing, that’s not really a problem with the wrist,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “But it’s the swinging of the bat. With that body part, one swing can set you back. And it’s just not worth it for Gavin [and] for us.”
The good news for the Dodgers is that they believe Lux will be ready to return as soon as he’s eligible -- April 26 against the Reds. On Saturday, Roberts said that Lux was at about 70%. They’re hoping for consistent progress over the next week.
“Gavin wants to be in there, but the smartest thing to do is make sure he’s 100%,” Roberts said. “And, hopefully, we don’t have to deal with this issue moving forward.”
In Lux’s absence, the Dodgers will lean on Chris Taylor, Zach McKinstry and Sheldon Neuse, who was activated Sunday and started at second base against the Padres at Petco Park. Neuse was acquired from the A’s over the offseason. He hit .265 with four RBIs this spring.
The Dodgers have dealt with their fair share of injuries to begin the season, with Lux being the latest. Center fielder Cody Bellinger has been sidelined since April 6 with a hairline fracture in his left fibula, and there’s still no timetable for his return. Mookie Betts also dealt with a sore lower back and missed four games.
Despite that, the Dodgers got off to a 13-2 start, the best by any defending champion in the history of the sport.
“There’s been some injuries,” Roberts said. “But we have guys that step up and pick each other up. That’s part of a long season. You’re going to have things like that, and guys are going to have to step up. I’m not surprised, though, with the way the guys are responding.”
While the Dodgers lost Lux on Sunday, they gained a key bullpen arm in Graterol. The power right-hander has been on the injured list all season because of a slow buildup during the offseason and Spring Training for undisclosed non-injury reasons.
Graterol was a big part of the Dodgers’ bullpen last season, posting a 3.09 ERA in 23 regular season appearances. The 22-year-old is one of the hardest throwers in the Majors, and Roberts won’t be shy in throwing him in the high-leverage situations right from the jump.
“He’s a guy that I trust,” Roberts said. “He’s pitched in big spots already in his short career. Whenever it makes sense to put him in there, I’ve got no problem.”
Graterol will give Roberts another late-inning option. The Dodgers have gotten at least one save from four relievers in the first 15 games of the season. With Graterol back on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned Alex Vesia to the alternate training site. The left-hander was activated Saturday but didn’t make an appearance.