Newly acquired shortstop Miguel Rojas had surgery to remove cartilage in his right wrist on October 5, and is still managing the injury as he prepares for his first spring training with the Dodgers in nine years.
As a guest on Dodger Talk with David Vassegh of AM 570 on Wednesday night, Rojas said his busy day — before hearing of the trade from his agent — included a visitor to his doctor regarding the injury.
“There’s still a couple other things that I need to figure out with the wrist,” Rojas told Vassegh, “but at the end of the day I’m going to be ready for spring training if all goes well.”
Rojas injured his wrist while sliding into third base in the fifth inning on July 21, the Marlins’ first game after the All-Star break. He played through the pain and stayed off the injured list, starting 54 of the final 71 games, but his offense cratered, hitting just .230/.276/.281 with a 61 wRC+ and no home runs after the break. He hit .240/.287/.353 with six home runs and a 82 wRC+ before the break, starting 78 of 91 games.
His isolated power (which is slugging percentage minus batting average) was .113 before the break, matching his number over the previous four seasons. But in the de facto second half, Rojas had a .051 isolated power that ranked 158th among the 159 major league hitters with 200 plate appearances, ahead of only Myles Straw.
“The only thing, my power numbers, I wasn’t impacting the ball the same,” Rojas told Christina De Nicola at MLB.com in October. “My swing changed a little bit because of the discomfort I was feeling, I wasn’t getting off my good swings.”
Craig Mish of the Miami Herald reported Wednesday on a recent issue with Rojas’ wrist, which did not prevent the trade between the Dodgers and Marlins.
Rojas per sources had a minor issue pop up recently after undergoing wrist surgery back in October. He’ll need a procedure on it from what I understand, but it didn’t hold up the deal with the Dodgers. The trade is complete.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 12, 2023
Rojas in his interview with Vassegh addressed his wrist injury, and while he didn’t specifically bring up needing another procedure he did twice mention needing to figure things out regarding his wrist before spring training.
“I’ve been progressing. I feel like there’s a ways to go before spring training and all the things in front of me,” Rojas told Vassegh. “I just want everyone to know that my first objective is to help the team win during the season. I’m not going to force anything before that.
“I’m going to everything that is in my power to be 100 percent in spring training and play games over there.”
In his first seven seasons with the Marlins, Rojas wore uniform number 19, but for 2022 switched to number 11 in honor of his grandfather, who died last January. Rojas’ mother also died within the same week.
“Going back to my No. 11 for one year in my career, and what happened earlier this year with my family and losing two of my biggest inspirations in life, it was kind of the breaking point for me to actually take the step and go towards that direction,” Rojas told De Nicola in February at the start of spring training.
Whether Rojas stays with number 11 with the Dodgers is unknown. He can’t go back to number 19, which is retired in Los Angeles to honor Jim Gilliam. Rojas as a rookie with the Dodgers in 2014 wore number 72, a number currently worn by hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc.
If 2014 seems like ages ago, you’re not wrong. The eight years in between Dodgers stints is tied for the sixth-longest layoff before a return since the franchise moved to Los Angeles:
- Vinente Romo: 13 years (between 1968 and 1982)
- Jesse Orosco: 12 years (1988, 2001)
- Rudy Seanez: 11 years (1995, 2007)
- Juan Castro: 9 years (1999, 2009)
- Mike Devereaux: 9 years (1988, 1998)
- Mike Maddux: 8 years (1990, 1999)
- Russell Martin: 8 years (2010, 2019)
- Ken McMullen: 8 years (1964, 1973)
- Miguel Rojas: 8 years (2014, 2023)