The Los Angeles Dodgers have barely been able to overcome the injury bug thus far in what was supposed to be a record-setting 2021 season.
It’s coming at them from all angles, with the rotation and bullpen being hounded, while the lineup and bench have been forced to reckon with a multitude of paper cuts.
Cody Bellinger’s hairline fracture suffered on a relatively routine slide set the outfield back early in the season, and injuries to Zach McKinstry and Edwin Rios messed significantly with their depth and ability to match up, increasing the roles of Matt Beaty and Sheldon Neuse.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers learned on Wednesday that Rios’ 10-Day IL stint, which began on May 4, would not represent a short-term loss.
Rios will undergo surgery next week on a partially torn labrum in his barking shoulder, which will reportedly have him ready for a return next spring training.
Projecting that far into the future seems difficult, though. It’s safer to say Rios is lost for 2021, and his next steps remain uncertain.
Who will replace Los Angeles Dodgers OF Edwin Rios?
Ideally, McKinstry’s balky muscles are ready to return sooner rather than later, but all we’ve heard from Dave Roberts is that he was able to sneeze to completion without any pain on May 7. Encouraging, but not definitive.
Until then, Beaty will continue roving, while the Dodgers hope he stays molten hot.
Rios’ departure for the full season removes him as both a crucial piece of outfield depth and as a starting DH during road games in the American League or, uh, potential World Series matchups.
In limited time in 2020, Rios starred at the plate, socking eight homers in just 76 at-bats, punctuating his season with two blasts in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
Shortly, LA will move Rios to the 60-Day IL, a transaction that also has to be completed for starter Dustin May. This will open up two roster spots for potential bullpen help or acquisitions, as the Dodgers continue to cycle through a wide variety of fresh arms.
This team was built to withstand injuries, sure, but it’s extremely unpleasant for any team to be inundated by them, especially when they’re ruled to be long-term absences.
Nothing has gone according to plan for this scuffling Dodgers team, though, so the extended loss of Rios is nothing new.