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Max Muncy placed on injured list with left elbow inflammation

Kevin Pillar, Michael Grove called up; Ryan Pepiot optioned

Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy is off to the worst start of his career, and on Saturday was placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation.

Muncy dislocated his left elbow in the final game of the regular season last year, knocking him out of the postseason entirely. Muncy later revealed that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, though did not require surgery.

Dodgers/D-backs lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
RF Betts 3B Rojas (L)
1B Freeman (L) DH Smith (L)
SS Turner 2B Marte (S)
C Smith 1B Walker
DH Ríos (L) LF Peralta (L)
3B Turner RF McCarthy (L)
CF Bellinger (L) CF Thomas (L)
LF Taylor SS Perdomo (S)
2B Lux (L) C Herrera (S)
Tony Gonsolin vs. Merrill Kelly on the mound

In the second inning on Monday night in Washington, a foul ball by Josh Bell drifted toward the netting down the third base line, and Muncy grimaced after the play.

Muncy missed the first two games of the series against the Diamondbacks, but waiting until Saturday to place him on the injured list allowed for Michael Grove to be recalled as an extra arm a few days early. Grove was optioned to Triple-A on May 16 and could not have returned before Tuesday unless replacing an injured player.

Muncy started 39 of the Dodgers’ first 43 games, splitting time between third base, second base, and designated hitter. He’s hitting .150/.327/.263 with three home runs. Among the 168 major league hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for leaderboards, Muncy ranks last in batting average and 161st in slugging percentage. He’s second in the majors with 34 walks, which buoys his on-base percentage and give him a 84 wRC+ that is tied for 135th.

With Muncy out, the Dodgers called up outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was off to a hot start in Triple-A. Pillar was hitting .315/.412/.622, a 153 wRC+ with nine home runs and 18 extra-base hits in 36 games for Oklahoma City.

The Dodgers signed Pillar to a minor league deal in March, and the veteran outfielder and non-roster invitee was one of the final roster cuts of spring training. He gives the Dodgers outfield depth one day after infielder Hanser Alberto made his second career start in right field when both Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger got days off in Washington D.C.

Pillar joins the team he grew up rooting for.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Pillar, the Dodgers transferred Tommy Kahnle to the 60-day injured list. Kahnle is expected to miss “weeks” with a bone bruise in his right elbow. Procedurally, with this move the earliest the right-hander could be activated from the IL is July 16.

The Dodgers optioned Ryan Pepiot to Triple-A after his spot start on Friday.

Pepiot has lasted increasingly deeper into games in his three major league starts, though wildness remains an issue for the 24-year-old right-hander. Pepiot has walked 11 batters and hit two more in his 11⅓ innings, and has gone to a three-ball count on nearly a third (31 percent) of his batters faced.