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Miguel Rojas starts minor league rehab, will return to a reduced role

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Miguel Rojas could rejoin the Dodgers on Monday or Tuesday after a stint on the injured list with a left hamstring strain. When he returns, his role will be a reduced one, though more in line with what the team expected when the shortstop was acquired by trade in January.

Rojas will play five innings at shortstop Saturday night for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga against Inland Empire in San Bernardino to begin a rehab assignment that could be as short as one game. Rojas won’t play the field on Sunday but, depending on how he feels, might be the designated hitter for Rancho Cucamonga for a few more at-bats on Monday.

After that, the Dodgers will evaluate Rojas for possible activation off the injured list on Monday, or possibly Tuesday. Once activated, Rojas will probably only start at shortstop a couple times per week, with Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts also playing the position.

“With Miguel, I don’t feel comfortable running him out there everyday anyway. Whether that’s C.T. or Mookie taking that down, I feel good,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Once [Rojas] gets back, and I look at the matchups and what gives us the best chance to win that day, I can give you a better answer.”

That’s more of what the Dodgers envisioned for Rojas when they traded for him in January, to be the backup shortstop and fill in where needed around the infield. But once Gavin Lux tore his ACL in spring training to end his season, that thrust Rojas into regular shortstop duty.

Rojas started the first four games of the season, but then missed five games, and six out of seven, with a mild left groin strain. A week and a half later, Rojas strained his left hamstring, landing on the injured list on April 19. He has four hits in 32 at-bats so far this season, including a double.

Sunday will be Rojas’ 11th game missed on this IL stint. The Dodgers want to be extra cautious to not overextend the 34-year-old.

“There’s a lot of soft tissue [injuries],” Roberts said. “We’ve got to find a way to keep him healthy.”