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The Dodgers, as they have all season at Dodger Stadium, were introduced before their 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday as the World champion Los Angeles Dodgers. A more accurate description would be what’s left of the World champion team, because it’s not much at the moment.
Corey Seager officially became the 13th Dodger on the injured list Sunday morning, joining Scott Alexander, Cody Bellinger, Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel, Dustin May, Zach McKinstry, AJ Pollock, David Price, Edwin Ríos, Caleb Ferguson and Tommy Kahnle.
Ferguson and Kahnle won’t pitch in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. May (elbow) and Ríos (shoulder) won’t return this season. The rest of the players’ returns range from days to months away.
Seager’s timetable is somewhere in the middle. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expects the shortstop to miss at least four weeks after he fractured the fifth metacarpal, a bone at the base of his pinky finger, when he was hit by a 90-mph pitch in the fifth inning Saturday.
Seager emerged from the clubhouse Sunday morning to speak to his agent Scott Boras wearing a splint under a cast.
“That's why you play 162,” Roberts said. “That's the thing that pulls your hair out. But the great thing about baseball and we're tapping into the depth and giving guys an opportunity and you got to figure it out because no one's going to feel sorry for the Dodgers and that’s OK. But I still love our guys.”
But the Dodgers (22-18) couldn’t even take the field without another setback impacting one of those guys. Minutes before first pitch, the team announced that Chris Taylor was scratched from the lineup with right wrist soreness. Roberts said Taylor’s wrist flared up when taking swings in the batting cage and he’ll be evaluated Monday.
“For Chris to say he can’t play minutes before the game is obviously a little concerning,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers, predictably, struggled to score. They produced 10 hits but just one walk. They went three for eight with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.
The difference was Adam Duvall’s three-run home run with two outs in the fifth inning off Edwin Uceta, the fourth of six pitchers the Dodgers used in a scheduled bullpen game. The runs were unearned because second baseman Sheldon Neuse booted a groundball from pitcher Pablo López to begin the inning.
López gave up two runs, both in the second inning, on seven hits over five innings. The Dodgers had their best chance to tie the score right before López’s exit when third base coach Dino Ebel waved Mookie Betts home from second base on Matt Beaty’s single to right field. Duvall’s throw beat Betts by several feet, forcing Betts to attempt a leap over catcher Chad Wallach, who tagged Betts as he hopped over him to conclude the fifth inning.
"It's the right play there,” said Betts, who went two for five and grounded out to end the game. “You got to wave me home."
Former Dodgers Dylan Floro and Yimi García logged the final two innings to help the Marlins (18-22) avoid a three-game sweep and halt the Dodgers’ four-game winning streak.
The Dodgers now turn to a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks starting Monday with a roster that should look quite different from just a few days ago. They recalled catcher Keibert Ruiz to take Seager’s spot and a few more roster moves are expected Monday.
Roberts said Price, out since April 26 with a strained hamstring, and Yoshi Tsutsugo, acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, will join the team. Albert Pujols, who agreed to terms Saturday, is also expected to be in uniform for the first time as a Dodger.
Price will return as a reliever. Pujols will be used chiefly as a pinch-hitter with occasional starts at first base against left-handed pitchers.
The plan is for Tsutsugo to split his playing time between first base, third base and left field. A left-handed hitter, he’s effectively replacing Ríos, who is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder this week.
Tsutsugo batted .187 with eight home runs and a .628 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 77 games with the Rays the last two seasons after leaving Japan on a two-year, $12 million contract. He’s particularly struggled against high velocity since coming to the major leagues. Roberts said the Dodgers’ hitting department has identified ways he could improve.
Others are coming, just not yet. Graterol played long toss before the game. He is scheduled to travel to Arizona to continue his rehab from forearm tightness. Gonsolin, out with shoulder inflammation, is slated to pitch a three-inning simulated game. Roberts said he’ll then pitch a four-inning outing before joining the Dodgers as a starter.
McKinstry (oblique) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City in the next few days. Bellinger (fibula) is expected to follow by next weekend.
They represent a wave of much-needed offensive reinforcements. But losing Seager, the reigning NLCS and World Series MVP, might be the most significant loss of all. The Dodgers will have to navigate at least the next month without him, primarily using Gavin Lux at shortstop, relying on newcomers and unproven youngsters more than they anticipated.
“Obviously we want to play full strength, but I think the guys we have now are plenty good to win games,” Betts said. “I think we’ve done alright.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.