Seemingly from the outset of a season that came with high expectations, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been forced to absorb and overcome injuries to several key contributors. Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu were both lost for the season, and more recently the club hasn’t been able to shake free from hamstring injuries.
Carl Crawford, Howie Kendrick, Kiké Hernandez, Jose Peraza and Yasiel Puig have all had trouble with the muscle to varying degrees. Crawford only battled some tightness, while Kendrick is nearing a return, and Hernandez, Peraza and Puig remain further behind on the road to recovery.
The rash of hamstring injuries has led to criticism being heaped on the Dodgers’ medical staff. According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Dodgers vice president of medical services Stan Conte is aware of the frequency to which Dodger players have suffered a hamstring strain:
It’s a cluster,” Conte said. “Like in any data, there’s clusters. Look at the whole year, look at the last several years, look at those things. I kind of don’t believe in bad luck, but the cluster is all together.”
Conte added running at full speed and previous hamstring trouble is another factor to consider:
The problem is that running puts a lot of stress on hamstrings,” Conte said. “Maximal running causes a lot of problems with hamstrings. It puts them at risk. Players who have had previous problems with hamstrings are more susceptible than people who have not had hamstrings before. Those are really big factors.”
Although some have argued otherwise, Conte said the Dodgers take preventative measures in effort to help prevent injury:
Dehydration is one that can definitely play a factor into it,” he said. “These guys go through a program the night before and the day of when it comes to hydration. Then on really hot days we’ll occasionally do IVs on guys that we think are in trouble, or are hitting on a lot of things. We’ve occasionally done that a lot on pitchers and catchers on hot days. People who have a history of dehydration, sometimes we’ll do IVs on a hot day.”
Puig certainly fits the bill of a player with recurring hamstring trouble as he’s been sidelined by strains in both legs this season. The first instance came in April, which forced him to miss six weeks.
Puig more recently has had trouble with his right hamstring that kept him out a handful of games before he aggravated it and placed on the disabled list. In similar fashion, Peraza missed just over one week before playing two games and also aggravating his strain.
Peraza on the other hand re-aggravated a two-week hamstring injury that may very well end his season. He has begun a rehab program and could be back by the postseason but that all depends on his progress and what the doctors tell him.
With the regular season winding down, the Dodgers find themselves working a balance of rehabbing players so they’re able to participate in meaningful October games, with first-hand experience a hamstring isn’t something to take lightly.