HomeMLB RumorsDodgers Notes: Ohtani, Heyward, Miller

Dodgers Notes: Ohtani, Heyward, Miller

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Dodgers fans were dealt a scare last night when superstar slugger Shohei Ohtani was pulled in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game against San Diego. Fortunately, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Jack Harris of the L.A. Times) that while Ohtani departed the game due to a bout of back tightness, the club’s concern over the issue is “minimal” at the moment. Roberts said that he’d see how the 29-year-old phenom is feeling today but was tentatively planning on giving him the day off in order to rest the issue.

All eyes around the baseball world were on Ohtani this past winter as he signed a record-shattering ten-year deal with the Dodgers that guarantees him $700MM, though heavy deferrals limit the net-present value of the pact to “just” $460MM. While Ohtani won’t flash his two-way talents this season after undergoing elbow surgery last year, the early returns on that deal could hardly be better as he’s slashed a staggering .352/.423/.667 in his first 40 games as a Dodger. To this point in the season, Ohtani leads the majors in hits, doubles, slugging percentage, and OPS while also leading the National League in batting average and having clubbed 11 home runs in just 183 trips to the plate.

Given Ohtani’s otherworldly performance with the bat this season, even a brief absence would constitute a major blow to the Dodgers’ lineup. Miguel Rojas or Enrique Hernandez appear to be the most likely options to join the club’s starting lineup should Ohtani require a day or two of rest, and a longer absence could open the door for youngster Miguel Vargas to get a crack at big league action.

More from the Dodgers…

  • Roberts also told reporters yesterday that outfielder Jason Heyward is making great progress while rehabbing from a bout of lower back tightness. Roberts told reporters (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) that Heyward was slated to continue facing live pitchers today before starting a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Tuesday. MLB.com’s Injury Tracker adds that Heyward is currently feeling healthy and that, according to Roberts, the length of his rehab assignment will be determined by how long it takes for him to feel comfortable with his swing. According to Plunkett, Roberts suggested that the veteran may only need two rehab games before returning to the majors. Heyward enjoyed a breakout season with the Dodgers last year, slashing a solid .269/.340/.473 in 124 games after struggling badly the prior seven seasons, all of which came as a member of the Cubs. Andy Pages has been filling in for Heyward in right field and has impressed across his first 22 games in the majors.
  • Right-hander Bobby Miller is set to throw a bullpen session today, as noted by Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. Miller has been on the injured list for the past month due to shoulder inflammation but is now ramping up baseball activity, with Ardaya added that he’s expected to face live hitters for the first time in San Francisco on Wednesday. Miller impressed in his rookie season with the Dodgers last year, becoming their most reliably starting pitcher over the course of the season with a 3.76 ERA and 3.51 FIP in 124 1/3 innings of work. Miller began the season in the club’s rotation but ultimately made just three starts before going on the shelf, posting a 5.40 ERA in 11 2/3 innings of work in those appearances. The Dodgers rotation has handled Miller’s absence rather well, with righty Gavin Stone currently holding down the fifth starter spot behind Tyler Glasnow, Walker Buehler, James Paxton, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

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