clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dodgers notes: J.D. Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, Austin Barnes

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from Sunday’s lineup with tightness in his left hamstring, which for now is considered day-to-day.

In his stead, Will Smith started at DH on Sunday against the Rangers. Martinez is expected to miss Monday’s game as well, but as the familiar cycle always goes, manager Dave Roberts doesn’t yet think it’s an injured-list situation yet.

What was once an expected simulated game and then became an extended bullpen session on Monday for Clayton Kershaw has instead been pushed back a few days. At issue is the timing of Kershaw’s return, which has been previously expressed as the beginning of August.

Per reporters in Texas on Sunday, it sounds like the Dodgers are lining Kershaw up to align with that early August return, with a bullpen session coming at some point later this week, then facing hitters in a simulated game.

The Dodgers are off this coming Thursday, July 27, as well as Monday, July 31, before starting a stretch of 13 game days in a row from August 1-13.

Austin Barnes was hitless in four at-bats on Sunday with a strikeout, and grounded into a double play to end the game. Barnes is in the worst slump of his career at the plate, now running on four months, with only 11 hits in 106 at-bats, hitting .104/.186/.123 with a minus-9 wRC+.

“It’s been frustrating. Sometimes I feel pretty good, and then nothing to show for it,” Barnes said after Sunday’s game, as shown on SportsNet LA. “But it’s been a frustrating year, for sure.”

Barnes’ .309 OPS is the 11th-lowest in Dodgers history in any season with at least 100 plate appearances. The 10 seasons with a lower OPS than Barnes include nine pitchers plus infielder Ed Wheeler, who had a .275 OPS in 1902 for Brooklyn.

“He’s been frustrated. Obviously on the offensive side it hasn’t been good. He’s working his tail off to get right and work through some things, but is just not getting the results that we’d like,” manager Dave Roberts said, as shown on SportsNet LA. “You flip it to the defensive side, and he just cares so much about the pitchers. You go out there, you put fingers down, trying to navigate the pitcher and nothing seems to be working. He just reached his breaking point right there.”

Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic wrote in his notes column Sunday, “The club could look to address the position at the deadline.”

The Dodgers farm system and player development system was profiled by Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times, with interviews from several both within and outside the organization. Among the keys — collaboration and communication:

On one of his first days with the Dodgers, during a rookie camp at their spring training facility in Arizona, Emmet Sheehan was struck by what he heard from their player development staff.

“From when you show up, they tell you, basically, ‘If you come up to us and ask us why we are doing something, and we can’t tell you how it translates on the field, you don’t have to do it,’ ” recalled the 23-year-old pitcher, a sixth-round draft pick in 2021 who already made his way to the big leagues.

“They teach us the reason behind everything we do,” he added. “And everything is personalized to the player.”