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Dodgers News: Austin Barnes Targeted to Return Friday

With Barnes returning from injury, Will Smith is likely to be the odd man out.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning in Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts provided an update on injured catcher Austin Barnes.

Barnes, who is on the IL with a mild groin strain, will participate in two rehab games with Rancho and is expected to return to the starting lineup on Friday when Clayton Kershaw toes the rubber against the Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

This unfortunately spells bad news for rookie backstop Will Smith, who will be optioned back to triple-A OKC.

The “Fresh Prince of Chavez Ravine” is just coming off of hitting his first career home run (of the walk-off variety) and is posting a .273/.273/.364 triple slash line through his first 3 games and 11 plate appearances.

Barnes has slashed .231/.345/.393 in 40 games this season. More importantly, he had been on a tear over the week prior to his groin injury, having batted .438/.571/.563 in 5 games.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream. He is also 1/2 of the occasional "Clint and Clint #DNpregame" show.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

Go bug him on the Twitter machine for funsies.

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  1. Short sample size I know, but I’m ready for Will Smith to supplant Barnes. Rotate Martin and Smith, package Barnes with someone else (maybe Pollock), eat some salary and go on down the road. Are you thinking about it Andrew?

    • Hello Bluz1st. If they move Pollock they must replace him with another RHB.. As I said on another page here, teams are eventually going to throw more and more LHP at the Dodgers because most of their damaging offense comes from the left side and the % say that although a few of these LH batters can handle LHP, they won’t necessarily be as much of a threat. and teams will soon figure out that to keep Pederson out of the starting lineup, all they need to do if possible is start with a LHP.

  2. Joy, I will be so thrilled when Barnes comes back, NOT. I like bluz1st suggestion of rotating Smith and Martin, package Barnes. I would go with Smith with one of the other two Barnes or Martin, which everone brings back someone of value. I don’t think teams would want Pollock unless he can prove he is healthy and stay of IL, NOT again.

  3. Will Smith has been like a breath of fresh air, and his presence will be sorely missed. I realize the team wants to give him as many at-bats as possible, and that he will probably return in September if not before, BUT, youth should be served. “Where there is a Will there is a way”. Go Blue!!!!

    • Great post BLUE LOU! Yes, it looks as though, barring an unforeseen circumstance, that Will is going back to OKC whether anyone of us like it or not.. After watching Sunday’s game, it is all too obvious that most of the Dodgers run production comes from the LHB on this team, and sooner or later teams will throw more and more LHP at us if for no other reason than it keeps Pederson on the bench. Joc has 18 HR’s this year ALL against RHP It’s called playing the % and even though guys like Bellinger, Verdugo, Muncy, Seager do OK against LHP, the % say they won’t be as much of a threat.As we all know, Joc does not start when a lefty is going against Dodgers and that won’t change anytime soon. I said this before and it’s worth repeating:…
      Even if Joc were to hit 5 HR’s in a game for a new MLB record, he will be sitting the very next game if a LHP is going.

      • AZUL, your analysis of of Joc’s situation/predicament is right on point as usual. I can see you have been consulting with PD Jr. once again, Seriously, I hope the FO is giving serious thought to acquiring a right-handed bat. It would be in our best interest!!!! Go Blue!!!

  4. The solution is simple, but this will not happen. Put Martin on the IL due to recurrent back problems. Meanwhile, see what Will can do.

  5. Gary, MLB could be getting wise to the Dodgers and other team’s use of a so called ‘fake IL’. If Martin does have a back issue that re- surfaces, then yes Smith can fill the void. But for now, once Barnes gets back for Friday’s game Smith goes back to OKC where Dodgers say he will get regular AB’s instead of remaining here as a 3rd catcher. However, Smith Barnes and Martin all can play a couple of INF positions if need be.

  6. Will is in the lineup tonight. And…tada…Joc is playing lf and batting 8th against lefty Robbie Ray.

    • Wow, surprise, surprise if Pederson is starting tonight against Arizona LHP Robbie Ray. I don’t get it, Turner(32 at-bats and Seager 24 ab) against Ray, they both hit Under .200.

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