The Dodgers swapped a pair of veterans on the roster on Wednesday, calling up outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and designating pitcher Nate Jones for assignment.
Souza hit .279/.444/.603, a 156 wRC+ with four doubles and six home runs in 22 games in Triple-A. Three of those homers came in one game, on May 30, when both Souza and Luke Raley hit three long balls in the same contest. Now, both are in Los Angeles.
Souza will wear uniform number 23 with the Dodgers.
On Tuesday night, Souza started in right field for Oklahoma City, but was pulled after three innings, coinciding with the timing of when the Dodgers placed Cody Bellinger on the injured list.
Souza has played exclusively outfield in his six major league seasons. He mixed in two games at first base as well this year in Triple-A, his first time at the position since 2011 in High-A.
The Dodgers signed the 32-year-old on April 12 after he was released by the Astros, for whom he played during spring training. His best year came in 2017 with the Rays, when he hit .239/.351/.459, a 121 wRC+ with 30 home runs.
Injuries took their toll since then, limiting Souza to just 89 games between the majors and minors from 2018-2020. He missed time with a pectoral injury in 2018 and suffered a hamstring strain in 2020. But the most damaging with a gruesome left knee injury at the end of spring training in 2019 that knocked him out for the season. He had knee surgery to repair an ACL tear, LCL tear, partial PCL tear and posterior lateral capsule tear.
Just this morning, Souza weighed in on MLB enforcing the ban on foreign substances, presumably referring to Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who suffered a partial UCL tear that he blamed Tuesday on no longer using sunscreen and rosin to get a better grip on the baseball.
How does this sentence look? I got hurt because I was cheating, they can’t tell me not to cheat in the middle of the year, because then I might get hurt from cheating.— Steven Souza (@SouzaJr) June 16, 2021
Ok I hear some of you guys on sunscreen and rosin, and maybe the word Cheating is probably too far. That’s on me, but where is any responsibility gonna be taken?— Steven Souza (@SouzaJr) June 16, 2021
Jones, who was signed by the Dodgers to a minor league deal on May 14, and called up to the majors a week later, had a good start with the club, not allowing a walk in his first seven appearances with the club, and keeping his foes scoreless in five of his first six outings.
But last week was brutal for Jones, who allowed six runs while recording only five outs in his two games against the Pirates and Rangers, allowing three home runs.
In eight games with the Dodgers, the 35-year-old right-hander had an 8.31 ERA and 8.24 FIP in 8⅓ innings. Combined with his numbers from the Braves earlier this season, Jones in 2021 has a 5.68 ERA and 8.53 FIP in 20 games and 19 innings, with seven home runs allowed.
The move brings the Dodgers back in balance, with 13 pitchers and 13 position players on the active roster.