When Max Muncy announced to the world last year that he had sustained a UCL tear on his dislocated elbow, the immediate thought was that he was going to be out for a long time. The Dodgers first baseman suffered the tear in a brutal collision at first base against the Brewers in the final series of the season in 2021.
But somehow without surgery, Max was ready to go by Opening Day this year. The numbers have not quite been there for Muncy though, a guy that the Dodgers have expected to have a lot of production from since that breakout 2018 season.
But speaking with The OC Register’s Bill Plunkett, Muncy did not want to blame his slow start on the elbow. He talked about how good it felt and how it shouldn’t be the thing that he points to with his struggles. The Dodgers might have a different opinion on that.
“It is what it is. I’m not going to use it as an excuse. I feel it’s moving well right now. Each day you’ve just got to get it moving. That’s just how it is. But it feels pretty good. I feel like I’ve been getting some really good swings off. Obviously the numbers don’t show that. But I feel really good at the plate.”
But there is that lingering doubt that naturally comes with a ligament tear in an elbow. It’s hard to trust that it’s healed and will not tear again. And that’s the problem that the Dodgers’ first baseman is running into this year.
“It’s just one of those things where until you start driving the ball, there’s always that thought in the back of your head – ‘Is it still there?’ That just comes with everything. I think we’re getting over it. It was definitely there at the start. But each swing I take it gets better and better. The at-bats have been better. So I feel okay about it.”
Despite a long homerun on Wednesday in Minnesota, Muncy has just two hits to his name in 2022. He’s gone 2-for-17 with one extra-base hit, which was that homer yesterday. The swing doesn’t look much different than it has in the past, but there is obviously something going on.
Maybe it is that hesitancy, that inability to trust the elbow. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had said in Spring Training that he felt Muncy was 85 percent healed. Muncy admitted to Plunkett that it might not even be fully healed until 2023.
But the Dodgers need Muncy to be right, and they need him at his full capacity. Having him in there at full steam ahead helps to make this lineup incredibly lethal.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!