It’s been quite the spring for the guy some fans call “Big Daddy.” For Dodgers infielder Edwin Ríos, it has to be a relief to come out on a tear this Cactus League season. A standout in the lineup during the team’s championship run in 2020, Ríos struggled mightily in 2021 before being shut down with a shoulder injury.
After surgery in May of last year, it was a long way back for the Puerto Rican slugger. Still, all this early success in spring isn’t exactly a surprise for Eddie. Veteran scribe Bill Plunkett spoke with Ríos this week. Of course, there was a simple question to be asked, are you exceeding your own expectations?
“No,” Ríos said. “It was a long offseason. I was hungry – missing out, sitting out. I knew what I needed to do coming in. I made sure to make that a point this offseason. I’m healthy now, feeling good. I’m doing what I planned to do. My plan all along was to come in here full strength and remind everybody.”
Certainly, Edwin has made things hard for the decision-makers in LA. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted that he’s shocked by just how far Ríos has come since the injury and operation.
“It’s surprising considering the surgery that he had last year, how he played last year. That’s just a credit to the work he’s put in. But I didn’t expect him to be where he’s at right now. I can’t give him enough credit. To be quite honest, we didn’t expect him to be where he is right now.”
Now the team stares down a tough decision for the opening day roster, albeit one eased by the trade of AJ Pollock on Friday. Roberts and the front office have 28 spots to fill for April 8th and at least 26 of those are accounted for. Entering spring training, it’s easy to assume that the Dodgers did not expect Ríos to be at this point. Time at triple-A and an opportunity to kick the can down the road decision-wise would have been eased by a .200 average and a dozen or so strikeouts.
But Edwin didn’t make it easy. And, like he said, he’s hungry for that roster spot.
“Results talk for themselves, Ríos said. “If I just keep doing what I’ve been doing we’ll see what happens.”
Through 8 games, the infielder/DH is hitting .438 (7-16) with a team-leading 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in. He’s struck out only once.
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