The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ patience with Max Muncy has paid off big time lately, as the slugger has shaken off the effects of 2021’s season-ending elbow issue to slug four homers with a 1.200 OPS over his past 10 games.
And oh, by the way, the Dodgers absorbed his struggles from April through July while piling up the best record in baseball around him. Even when Muncy wasn’t hitting, it truly was all good.
Unfortunately, his recent resurgence hit a snag on Tuesday, when he dingered for the third time in his past four games against the Minnesota Twins, but left early after being struck on the hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the slugger is good to go.
That’s right — it’s time for another bout of patience, just as the Dodgers successfully rounded the Muncy corner.
As Dodger fans know from dealing with the iron-willed Muncy during his elbow troubles last fall and this spring, his pain tolerance is high, but the negative effects of playing through gritted teeth have been extremely obvious for a while.
Dodgers’ Max Muncy battling injury (hand contusion) amid hot streak
Of course, there’s a chance Muncy’s grip is back to normal right away. Even though Hanser Alberto sent him back to the bench on Wednesday, the more optimistic reading of the situation says that the X-rays were negative, the team was cautious while riding a win streak, and the new “Old Muncy” will be back to mashing as soon as possible.
There’s also the cautionary tale of Chris Taylor, whose initial X-rays deemed him out of the woods before a hairline fracture was later revealed.
No one knows what Muncy’s feeling — and he’ll also never tell you — but for a freak accident injury concern to crop up just as he was finally getting his vintage swing back is tough timing, no matter how hot the rest of the club is.
Dave Roberts and the Dodgers’ wait-and-see attitude will likely persist throughout the weekend, as the streaking club takes it (relatively) easy against the young and semi-frisky Kansas City Royals.
All that matters is weathering Muncy’s storm, whether he’s full steam ahead or needs a little more recovery time.