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Zach McKinstry will continue rehab in Arizona

Dodgers utility man is on the injured list with a strained right oblique.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Zach McKinstry is slowly but surely working his way back from a strained right oblique, an injury that will take him next to the Dodgers facility at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, with no defined timetable for his return to the majors.

“A lot of guys say, ‘Once it feels 100 percent, even take a day, just to make sure that it is 100 percent,’ and just kind of take it slow,” McKinstry said Monday. “You don’t want it to really nag all year, so just take it slow and come back ready to go.”

McKinstry said he felt something in his side during batting practice before Thursday’s series opener against the Padres. He was scratched from the lineup that night, then placed on the 10-day injured list Friday.

He was one of the bright spots in the early going for the Dodgers, hitting .296/.328/.556 while playing four different positions. McKinstry was second on the team in both home runs (three) and RBI (14) when he was placed on the IL.

McKinstry is technically eligible to return as early as May 2, though the nature of the injury usually takes longer than 10 days to heal.

In recent seasons with the Dodgers, Will Smith missed 13 days with an oblique strain in 2019, and that’s on the low end. Yasiel Puig missed 19 days in 2018, and relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson missed 18 days in 2019. But Alex Verdugo missed two months in 2019, as did Corey Knebel in 2016 when he was with the Brewers.

For now McKinstry is able to work out, and could get back on the field for more workouts soon.

“It’s a lot of work getting the body right,” he said. “Once my oblique’s at 100 percent then I can start swinging, and doing more baseball activity. We’ll kind of have an outline from there.”

When the Dodgers depart for Milwaukee after Wednesday afternoon’s game, McKinstry will head to Camelback Ranch to continue his rehab. Eventually that will turn into him getting into rehab games, whether that’s in Arizona or, depending on the timing, at one of the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates, which begin play on Tuesday, May 4.