Saturday was the fifth straight game Miguel Rojas was not in the starting lineup, still nursing a mild groin strain suffered last Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are playing the waiting game with the shortstop, being extra cautious and not rushing him back to the lineup.
Rojas suffered the injury Sunday at Dodger Stadium, then missed both games against the Rockies. Coupled with the off day Wednesday, Thursday was the day he could have been placed on the injured list without missing more than 10 days, since IL moves can be backdated up to three days.
We saw this a few times in recent years, when the Dodgers avoided an injured list stint, hoping to gain on the back end. Cody Bellinger sat three games with leg tightness. Justin Turner missed five games with abdominal tightness in July. Chris Taylor in 2021 missed five games and six days with neck soreness in September, to name a few.
Saturday is the sixth day out for Rojas, and given that Roberts said that if Rojas was cleared to start Sunday he’d get another day off on Monday, the most Rojas can play during what would have been a 10-day injured list stint is just three games.
Making the decision to play it safe with Rojas easier is that Chris Taylor has played well defensively in Rojas’ absence. Shortstop is a position Taylor is familiar with, starting there 222 times in his career. But he played just one inning at the position last year when Trea Turner was the incumbent.
There’s also the issue of what the Dodgers would gain by placing Rojas on the injured list. The likely call-up from Triple-A would be Yonny Hernández, who can play shortstop, second base, and third. Other than a spot start, it’s not likely Hernández would see much time. The Dodgers entering Saturday have pinch hit six times in seven games, and have used more than 10 position players in a game only twice.
So while they’ve technically been playing short for a few games with Rojas still active, in practice they aren’t missing much in terms of maneuverability.
Rojas, for his part, said he was ready to play on Friday, but is going along with the plan to be cautious, taking the long view.
“Obviously I wanna play… I just need to keep getting better for my groin.” @MRojasOfficial is eager to get back on the field but is taking every precaution to be healthy for the long run. pic.twitter.com/rIvAQyElSl— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 8, 2023
“We’re being diligent, trying to think about big picture instead of these couple of games. Obviously, I want to play and to be in there with the boys. It’s been hard for me,” Rojas said, per SportsNet LA. “Coming back too quick into the lineup the quick and something happens, I’m down for a month. We don’t want that to happen. We’d rather give it a little more time, and whatever happens, we can live with the consequences.”