LOS ANGELES — Max Muncy took ground balls and did agility work at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, trying to work his way back from a left hamstring strain. A decision on his roster status could come as early as Friday.
The Dodgers are weighing the benefits of having their third baseman available at a reduced capacity for a few games versus giving him another week to rest while on the injured list.
“I think any day of being able to do something on the field, keep his legs going, swing the bat, is a positive. But I think given that it’s been three days already, we don’t want to regress,” manager Dave Roberts said Thursday. “I still believe he’ll be able to play for us this weekend.”
Muncy injured the hamstring running down the first base line in his last at-bat Sunday in Philadelphia. It was not a Grade 2 hamstring strain as Roberts said Wednesday, but rather a “low-grade” strain, Roberts clarified Thursday. Whatever the messaging, this is a familiar path with Dodgers injuries in recent years. Just wait until tomorrow. Then the next day. Or the day after that.
Muncy said Thursday that this injury was unrelated to the left hamstring cramp he suffered on May 28 at Tampa Bay. Muncy missed one game with that injury. Thursday marks his third game missed with his current hamstring strain, and if he’s available at all on Friday, it would likely only be to pinch-hit.
“It’s a day-to-day thing. Overall, I’d say today was a good day,” Muncy said. “Obviously it wasn’t where I was hoping. I was hoping I’d feel pretty good and maybe get a pinch-hit tonight or tomorrow.”
Friday is an inflection point, in that if Muncy is placed on the injured list before the series against the Giants, the move could be backdated to Tuesday, meaning he could be activated by next Friday if he misses the minimum 10 days. That’s only five games missed, and only four starts. But how Muncy feels after more drills Friday will go a long way in determining his roster status.
“I love playing, and I don’t like sitting. It kills me,” Muncy said. “I want to be back helping the team win, doing anything I can, especially right now because we’re in a little rut. I want to do everything I can to help, and you can’t do that when you’re sitting on the bench.”
Muncy said he didn’t feel great after running on Thursday. Roberts said Muncy doesn’t necessarily need to run at full speed right away, that he could have sort of a governor while running. But there’s also the matter of fielding, as both Muncy and Roberts echoed.
“At third base, it’s just react,” Muncy said. “If a ground ball is hit to your left or right, you don’t necessarily have time to think about, ‘I gotta put a governor on,’ I just have to go for it.”
“I think for me, it’s trusting Max and the training staff, and figuring out when it’s time to pull the trigger,” Roberts said.