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D-backs, Dodgers taking cautious approach

Goldy, Seager dealing with right elbow issues
MLB.com @boomskie

LOS ANGELES -- This is a tale of two right elbows -- one belonging to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and the other to D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Both players are critical to their team's success this season and into the postseason. Thus, no one can blame either club for taking the utmost in precautions about having their respective All-Stars healthy and able to contribute as the season wanes.

Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- This is a tale of two right elbows -- one belonging to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and the other to D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Both players are critical to their team's success this season and into the postseason. Thus, no one can blame either club for taking the utmost in precautions about having their respective All-Stars healthy and able to contribute as the season wanes.

Full Game Coverage

Seager, who has been reduced to a pinch-hitting role since Aug. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow, just began a throwing program Monday. If all goes well, he should be back at shortstop some time during the upcoming home series beginning Thursday night against the Rockies.

The point is to have Seager ready and at full gear when the Dodgers open their National League Division Series probably at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 6.

"That's right, that's right," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday before his club played the D-backs. "But we've afforded ourselves that luxury. We're trying to keep the edge and win every baseball game. Just because we're not playing all of our starters each and every night doesn't mean we're not trying to win baseball games. Corey will be back soon, and we'll be better for it."

Goldschmidt has been playing through some soreness in the right elbow for about a week, and D-backs manager Torey Lovullo decided to shut him down for Monday's opener of a big three-game series at Dodger Stadium after a planned day off Sunday at Coors Field.

Video: ARI@LAD: Goldy traveling to Phoenix for MRI on elbow

The D-backs are taking the extraordinary step of flying Goldschmidt back to Phoenix for an MRI on Tuesday and a visit with the team's orthopedic doctors. They could very well have had an MRI taken at one of the numerous top-flight Los Angeles area medical centers.

There is such a thing as emails, faxes and phones. But that's not the route the D-backs decided to take.

"We have protocol and our process," Lovullo explained. "We trust our doctors, and that's why we opted to send Paul over there."

Again, the abundance of caution can't be faulted.

If all goes well, Goldschmidt is expected back with the team and in the lineup Tuesday night. If not, well, Lovullo said, he'll worry about that when they have a diagnosis.

Goldschmidt is having an MVP-type season that's just a tick below the gargantuan numbers being posted by Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who's leading the Major Leagues with 53 homers and 112 RBIs.

Video: LAD@ARI: Statcast™ measures Goldy's 432-ft. home run

Goldschmidt has 33 homers, a .597 slugging percentage and is third in the Majors with 109 RBIs. He's also hitting .314 and has a .424 on base percentage.

There's no question Goldschmidt is the heart and soul of Arizona's run to host the National League Wild Card Game on Oct. 4. But he's been told not to push through this elbow injury.

Video: ARI@LAD: Goldy discusses ailing right elbow, MRI

"It's not like it's been killing me one day and fine the next, up or down or anything," said Goldschmidt, who was 0-for-8 Friday and Saturday at Colorado after amassing two homers, two doubles and five RBIs last week in a three-game home sweep against the Dodgers. "It's just kind of weird. I feel it for a sec, and then I won't feel it for a while.

"The best thing is, it hasn't affected preparation or playing in the game. I've been playing through it, can keep doing it, and will if I have to. Hopefully, with a couple of days of rest it will be back to 100 percent or close to it."

The Dodgers have had numerous problems during their rare run of eight losses in the last nine games, but missing Seager slashing at .309/.390/.499 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs is right up there.

Video: CWS@LAD: Seager singles to plate fifth run of the 8th

 "Yeah, it's a part of it," Roberts said. "You get one of your best players not playing, that's certainly a big part of it. He's a big part of what we've done, and what we're going to do. To not have him in there at short and hitting at the top of the order, it's a big deal. Are we better with Corey? Absolutely."

The Dodgers have been slow-walking Seager, who like Goldschmidt, wants to play. Last week, Seager was restricted to taking batting practice grounders and had only three pinch-hit appearances, two of them against the D-backs and the other Saturday in the first game of a split doubleheader against the Padres in San Diego. He went 0-for-3.

On Monday before the Dodgers even took the field for batting practice, Seager's throwing program began in earnest. Roberts reported progress.

"He did start the throwing program and looked good," Roberts said. "He stretched out to about 70 feet. I talked to the trainers, and they said he looked good. His arm started to loosen up. He took some grounders. I think the thing that's really good is that we've kept him at bat, we've kept him moving. His legs feel strong, healthy. I think it was a good day for him."

And good news for the Dodgers, who are exercising an abundance of caution.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt, Corey Seager