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Corey Seager thankful sprained knee isn't worse, eyes opening day return

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- The mood surrounding Corey Seager's left knee was considerably more optimistic on Sunday morning than it was on Saturday night, though perhaps it had more to do with what was avoided rather than Seager's realistic timetable for return.

One night after saying it wold be a stretch for Seager to be ready for opening day after getting shut down for one to two weeks with no baseball activity with a sprained left knee, manager Dave Roberts said on Sunday he was confident that Seager would be ready to go on April 4 when the Dodgers open against the Padres in San Diego.

"I still think that we have time," Roberts said. "We're still pushing it, but I'm optimistic."

Seager suffered a sprained knee, but was in so much pain around the outside of the knee that heading into his MRI exam he feared a meniscus tear, which likely would have required surgery that would have sidelined him for months and not weeks.

"It's just a mild sprain of the knee," Seager said Sunday. "From where my pain was, we were worried about the meniscus. That's not something you want to deal with this close to the year. Luckily, everything was fine. Structure was fine."

Seager had some swelling in his knee on Thursday but had the excess fluid drained. Then on Friday against the Angels, he singled to left in his first at-bat. As the throw from right field went to third base to try to get Joc Pederson, Seager took an aggressive turn around first base but stopped, and that's when he felt his knee buckle.

He stayed in the game for two more innings, and one more at-bat before exiting the game.

"I felt good the first AB, and I wanted another one," Seager said. "It probably wasn't my brightest moment, but in the middle of the game the adrenalin's going and you want to get ready for the year."

Seager won't do many baseball activities for the next week or two, but will still be able to workout.

"As I understand it now, he's going to kind of lay low for a week, but still do things to keep his arm in shape, and then that second week start to progress a little bit," Roberts said. "As far as seeing him doing baseball activities, it's going to be a couple of weeks and then we'll reassess. But where we're at on the calendar there would still be time to get a slew of at-bats on the other side."

If Seager is back ready to hit in minor league or simulated games in two weeks, on March 27, that leaves him just eight days to cram enough at-bats in to get ready for the season. Seager was confident but cautious that he'd be ready for April 4.

"Hopefully it's not [a question]," Seager said. "It's all on the symptoms and all on how it's feeling, so as soon as those are gone I'll get back into baseball, get some ABs and move on."