Max Muncy took extra batting practice before Saturday’s game against the Rockies, in an attempt to break out of what has basically been a season-long slump.
Muncy is hitting .172/.291/.374 with six home runs in 27 games this season, his 87 wRC+ ranking 121st among 158 qualified batters in the majors. He had live at-bats at Dodger Stadium against right-handed reliever Edubray Ramos, who came across town from the alternate training site at USC. Muncy saw about 25 pitches.
Like fellow struggling left-handed regulars Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, Muncy showed signs that he might be coming out of the slump recently. Muncy last weekend drove in three in Friday’s win over the Angels, and homered in Anaheim on Saturday. But he’s just 2 for 15 since, though one of the hits was a home run.
|1B||Murphy (L)||1B||Bellinger (L)|
“I think at times it was more of trying to think along with a pitcher. A little bit also is part of the mechanics, not staying in his legs, not being able to stay through the baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call Saturday. “Today he took some really good swings. Max will be fine.”
Muncy is starting at third base on Saturday, his second start at the position this season, with Justin Turner at designated hitter in the middle game against the Rockies.
Will Smith got five at-bats and caught a bullpen session Saturday morning at USC, and will be activated from the injured list to start Sunday’s series finale, Roberts said.
Edwin Rios took ground balls at third base on Saturday, trying to return from a left hamstring strain. The earliest Rios could be activated is Thursday.
Joe Kelly is eligible to return from the injured list, and must serve his five-game suspension upon activation. But he’s not quite ready just yet. “We’re going to make sure that once he does come off, he’s ready to go. But there’s certain markers that we have to get to,” Roberts said. “He’s trending in the right direction.”
Alex Wood will through a second simulated game, this one four innings, on Monday at USC, then if all goes well will likely make a start next weekend in Arlington against the Rangers. “The goal is to activate him,” Roberts said. “But that’s all contingent on Monday and how he recovers after that.”