PHOENIX — Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager arrived in camp at Cameback Ranch on Friday ready to further test his right elbow after a winter of rest and physical therapy, and will likely do so with a reduced workload this spring.
Seager dealt with discomfort in the elbow over the final six weeks of the regular season, having to manage the pain more while throwing than batting. There was concern that he might require offseason surgery but instead was prescribed rest and a treatment program.
“It’s something that we really thought through and with the medical staff thought it was the best way to go about things,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To have him have a regular offseason of resting the body and getting strong and recovering, not having to rehab is a good thing.”
Seager also missed the NLCS with a back sprain but was able to play all seven games in the World Series. He said the rest and offseason treatment healed that as well.
Seager began a throwing program in January though still hasn’t thrown beyond 100 feet. He said he still needs throw to bases as well, but to date has had no discomfort or pain in the elbow.
“I’ve had no worries so far, but I have a few more steps to go,” Seager said.
The Dodgers will likely progress slowly with Seager during spring training, making sure he is fully healthy to start the regular season.
“Last year at the end of the season we kind of planned this out where it’s a little bit delayed for him. Being behind early is considerably better than some time in camp having a setback.”
Seager has had those setbacks in each of the last two spring training camps, missing 19 days with a sprained right knee in 2016 and then was sidelined for three weeks with a sore oblique last year.
Roberts expressed concern that some of the setbacks bled over into the regular season, but Seager’s first two seasons have provided a mixed bag of April results. He hit just .250/.311/.396 with two home runs in the first month of 2016, but started out the gate hot in 2017 with five home runs in 25 games in April, hitting .319/.411/.549.
Roberts said he will try to find ways to rest Seager whenever possible during the regular season, though he still sees him as “a 150-game guy.” Seager played in 157 games as a rookie, starting 149 times. Last year he played 145 games, starting 134. He hit just .205/.280/.349 over his final 26 games, all while dealing with the elbow discomfort.
“Corey is a guy who is always trying to find an edge, get better, and sometimes there is a little bit of diminishing returns,” Roberts said. “It’s about understanding your body.”