Banged-up Seager rests his sore back

Los Angeles Times - - NLCS - By Andy McCul­lough andy.mccul­lough@la­times.com Twit­ter: @McCul­loughTimes

Corey Seager did not take part in the Dodgers’ work­out Thurs­day as he rested his sore back. Seager, the two-time All-Star short­stop, tweaked his back while slid­ing into a base dur­ing Game 3 of the Na­tional League di­vi­sion se­ries on Mon­day, man­ager Dave Roberts said.

“He’s worked so much, and we wanted to just kind of keep him off his feet,” Roberts said. “It’s not a con­cern.”

The Dodgers ex­pect Seager to start Satur­day against the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. The health and readi­ness of Seager has been a con­stant topic of dis­cus­sion for the Dodgers this sea­son. Seager missed nearly two weeks late in the sea­son as he rested his sore right el­bow.

The in­flam­ma­tion in the joint could re­quire off­sea­son surgery, and Seager has learned to ac­cept the pain that ac­com­pa­nies each throw.

De­spite the dis­com­fort, Seager un­veiled enough arm strength to sur­vive as the play­offs ap­proached. His hit­ting also picked up at an op­por­tune time. Af­ter strug­gling in Septem­ber, Seager aided the of­fense through­out the sweep of the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs. Seager got on base at a .467 clip, scored three runs and drove in two oth­ers.

The Dodgers have tried to cut back on Seager’s work­load in 2017 to keep his body fresh for Oc­to­ber. At this time of year, with a four-day break between games, the team saw lit­tle in­cen­tive in risk­ing more dam­age to Seager’s back. “It’s day to day,” Roberts said. “There’s no real rea­son to get him out here right now, if we don’t need to. And also, it’ll help his el­bow too.”

Wood will pitch Game 4

Roberts filled in an­other piece of his start­ing ro­ta­tion, an­nounc­ing Alex Wood as the Game 4 starter. With Clayton Ker­shaw set for Game 1, the Dodgers have not de­ter­mined how to line up Rich Hill and Yu Dar vish for the sec­ond and third games.

The Dodgers started Hill at home against Ari­zona and Darvish on the road. The team could shift Darvish to Game 2, as they have fewer con­cerns about Hill pitch­ing at Wrigley Field, com­pared to Ari­zona’s Chase Field.

Avi­lan ready, if needed

Luis Avi­lan, a left-handed re­liever, threw 20 pitches in a sim­u­lated game Wed­nes­day and re­ported no dis­com­fort in his left shoul­der, which had kept him out of the NLDS due to lin­ger­ing sore­ness.

“Ev­ery­thing felt good,” Avi­lan said. “I feel good to go.”

The Dodgers have not de­ter­mined if Avi­lan will be added to the 25-man ros­ter for the com­ing se­ries.

His ab­sence made it eas­ier for the Dodgers to put Pe­dro Baez on the ros­ter in the first round. Baez posted a 2.95 earned-run av­er­age in 2017, with a 10.38 ERA in Septem­ber. Avi­lan fin­ished the sea­son with a 2.93 ERA.

Short hop

Catcher Austin Barnes was re­moved from Thurs­day’s sim­u­lated game af­ter get­ting hit be­low the belt with a foul ball. He was hit in a sim­i­lar area in the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Robert Gau­thier Los An­ge­les Times

COREY SEAGER TWEAKED his back while slid­ing dur­ing Game 3, but man­ager Dave Roberts said, “It’s not a con­cern.”

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