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Corey Seager improving, but doesn’t travel with Dodgers to Chicago

SS unlikely to be activated during NLCS

League Championship Series - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager is improving, but he did not travel with the team to Chicago for the middle games of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs.

Seager was left off the Dodgers’ active roster for the NLCS with a back sprain, suffered on a routine slide into second base in the first inning of Game 3 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. Manager Dave Roberts on Sunday said Seager felt “normalish” and that his back showed continued improvement on Monday.

But Seager still hasn’t been cleared for baseball activities. No running or hitting yet, so the odds of him being ready enough to activated during the NLCS — if he were to be activated in this series, it would have to be replacing another injured position player — are low.

“I don’t see it happening right now. He hasn’t done anything baseball specific,” Roberts said. “We’ve got to get him in a place where physically he feels like he can play in a major league game and endure those conditions as far as weather, to be able to come back after a game and to play the next day. So right now I wouldn’t say that we’re close to that point yet.”

Charlie Culberson, who started two games and totaled 15 plate appearances with the Dodgers during the regular season, started the first two games of the series against the Cubs and was 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a sacrifice fly, scoring twice.

Both of those starts against left-handed pitchers. The Cubs will start right-handers Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta in Games 3 and 4, respectively, at Wrigley Field. Roberts said the lineup for Game 3 hasn’t yet been finalized, but that there will likely be some changes.

“A lot of what we’ve talked about is depth, and it’s all rhetoric until it plays out,” Roberts said. “But I think internally for us we believed that was a huge asset.

“It’s certainly played out that way. When you do lose a guy like Corey, the one factor is we do have somebody we feel very confident in replacing Corey, which is very difficult to do. But the other part is that the guys in the clubhouse just aren’t wavering and really aren’t affected by the loss of any one player. And I think that speaks to the toughness of those guys in there.”

The Dodgers lead the best-of-seven series two games to none. Game 3 is Tuesday night at 6:01 p.m. PT, and will be televised by TBS.