Pinky injury slows Vargas; Roberts' first spring address

February 20th, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- is expected to be the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman this season, but the 23-year-old Cuban infielder won’t be able to swing a bat for at least a few days after suffering a hairline fracture on his right pinky finger.

The injury came a few days ago as Vargas took infield work at second base when a baseball took a bad hop and caught Vargas on the right hand. After going through imaging, Vargas said he was surprised to find out he had a small fracture.

“Yeah, it was weird for me,” Vargas said. “But I’m starting to feel better every day, and I want to keep doing that.”

Vargas, the No. 37 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, still took part in the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout on Monday, taking grounders at second base and indicating that his throws weren’t affected by the injury. All Vargas will be prevented from doing is swinging a bat, because the vibration of making contact with the ball is what bothers him the most.

If it were up to Vargas, he would be hitting if allowed, but he knows it’s better to rest given how much more spring action is left. Still, Vargas hopes to be ready for the start of Spring Training games on Saturday.

Vargas will be one of a handful of players that will command plenty of attention this spring. He’s going to be a regular for the first time in his career, and the Dodgers are counting on him to produce at a high clip at the plate in order to replace some of the production they’re losing from last year’s team.

Vargas struggled in limited time in the Majors last season, posting a .455 OPS in 47 at-bats. With a more regular role in the lineup, the Dodgers are expecting a better season from Vargas, who many scouts believe had the best hit tool in the organization's Minor League system last season.

, and  have been among the players working with Vargas the most this spring.

Back in camp

The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout on Monday, which brought with it the spring's first team address from manager Dave Roberts.

Roberts said his message was just about starting a new season, rather than focusing on how the bitter the ending was following the club's Division Series loss to the Padres.

Jason Heyward, David Peralta and a handful of newcomers were also called upon to give a quick introduction and speech to the team.

“It’s nice to have a room like this where you have a group of leaders, you have a group of guys that have experience that are hungry to win and that have seen winning,” Heyward said. “I just said expectation is a beautiful thing. Every year you expect to win, you expect to win a World Series.”

Around the horn

continues to progress from last season’s torn ACL on his right knee and left ankle tendinitis that popped up during his rehab. The right-hander was scheduled to throw off a mound on Monday and there’s no real concern about him being slightly behind on his rehab.

• Rojas and took reps at shortstop on Monday, while and Vargas handled the responsibilities in left. Martinez also took fly balls in right field. His teammates erupted every time he caught the ball.

, and each pitched in live batting practice, facing Betts and .