The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to be snakebitten by hamstring injuries this season. Yasiel Puig has strained the muscle on three separate occasions — once in the left leg and twice in his right leg. With the most recent incident, a second strain in the last nine days, forcing him to the 15-day disabled list on Friday.
Meanwhile, Howie Kendrick is still on the DL since straining his left hamstring Aug. 9 in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Dodgers have maintained their second baseman wouldn’t return until some point in September, but on Friday manager Don Mattingly provided an update that has Kendrick slightly behind schedule.
“Howie has kind of plateaued a little bit,” the manager said prior to the series opener against the Chicago Cubs. “He can run 90-95 percent but isn’t yet all the way there. We were kind of hoping he’d be playing baseball by Sunday, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So, it’s probably a few extra days for Howie.”
When Kendrick was initially lost to injury Kiké Hernandez received the bulk of the starts at second base and filled in admirably. However, the Dodgers nonetheless traded for Chase Utley, which has allowed for Hernandez to be moved to center field in place of the slumping Joc Pederson.
Utley has since assumed the responsibilities at second base but that’s not something the club wants to become too reliant on, which played a role in Jose Peraza being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. “With Howie still not back yet, we don’t want to run Chase out there every day,” Mattingly said.
“We wanted to be able to mix and match a little bit. [Peraza] can play the outfield, which allows us to move Kiké around a little bit.” Although the initial plan called for Kendrick to complete a rehab assignment prior to being reinstated from the DL, the delay coupled with Minor League regular season ending on Sept. 7 and 8 may present a hurdle.
However, that’s not something Mattingly is concerned with. “I don’t think we’re worried about it. He’s able to get live BP and at-bats in Arizona,” he said along with adding the importance is on getting Kendrick comfortable to return.