LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers remain hopeful that shortstop Corey Seager will be ready to return to the lineup for Game 1 of the World Series, having improved after missing the NLCS with a back sprain.
“We’re very optimistic,” Dave Roberts said Saturday. “Corey really doesn’t want to be denied.”
Seager was able to run curves on the field, take ground balls at shortstop, and hit off a tee and soft toss at Dodger Stadium in the last few days, and will face living pitching in simulated games this weekend and Monday.
He did not travel with the team to Chicago during the NLCS. Roberts said he saw video of Seager and talked to the training staff, but was looking forward to watching him with his own eyes.
The Dodgers will host Games 1 and 2 at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday, with both games starting at 5:09 p.m. PT. Depending on Seager’s relative readiness, he could be used as a designated hitter in the middle games of the World Series, either in Houston or New York.
“We don’t know whether it’s standing in the infield taking ground balls, or taking swings which affects him more. We’re just trying to get him as healthy as we can, and the training staff will make that decision,” Roberts said. “If he can swing the bat and isn’t compromised, [using his as a DH] makes sense.
“If Corey’s able to swing the bat, that’s a huge benefit to us"
Seager was 3-for-11 (.273) with a triple and three walks in the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. Charlie Culberson started three of the five games in the NLCS at shortstop, filling in with aplomb, hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a triple and two doubles plus an array of stellar defensive plays. Chris Taylor started the other two games at shortstop -- in addition to three starts in center field -- and was named co-MVP of the series.
“It’s a great feeling to know you have amazing depth,” Roberts said. “Players of Charlie Culberson’s character and Chris Taylor’s character to pick up a guy like Seager. It’s not easy to replace Corey.
“We’re hopeful Corey will be back in Game 1, but if it doesn’t go as we expect, to have those two guys fill in is very comforting.”