The Los Angeles Dodgers waited 29 years for a National League pennant. Now they are waiting a couple more days to make their final roster decisions for the World Series, which begins Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium.
The biggest question is the status of star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the Dodgers’ five-game win over the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series. Seager, nursing a bad back, has been working out in Los Angeles since the Dodgers finished a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series.
“Corey is taking swings off the tee,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday. “Everything looks good, but obviously we’ll know more today.”
In the finale of the Arizona series, Seager injured his back while sliding into a base, a condition that lingered long enough to keep him from the Dodgers’ NLCS roster.
After Los Angeles ousted Chicago, Roberts seemed optimistic that Seager would be able to return. That hasn’t changed, but a final determination won’t be made until Seager faces live pitching during workouts at Dodger Stadium later Saturday and Sunday.
“For him, the biggest hurdle is we’re going to have some pitchers throwing in the next couple of days, some live arms,” Roberts said. “He’s going to hang in there and take some swings. Take some ground balls as well. Just simulating a game against a live pitcher will be telling.”
Seager, 23, won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and followed that with an All-Star campaign this season, in which he hit .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs. Roberts said it’s possible Seager could serve as the Dodgers’ designated hitter for road games during the World Series.
“If Corey is able to swing the bat,” Roberts said, “obviously that’s a huge benefit to us, having potentially three games in an AL ballpark.
“But right now, I don’t know because he did it (hurt his back) sliding initially. We don’t know whether it’s standing in the infield taking ground balls, bending over versus taking the swings, which more affects him. We’re just trying to get him as healthy as we can.”
Roberts emphasized that he didn’t mean to sound more pessimistic about Seager than he did in Chicago.
“No, no, no,” Roberts said when asked about a possible reticence in his responses Saturday. “I think we’re very optimistic. I just want to see it with my own eyes today. I want to see the video and talk to him.
“I think until I see him with my own eyes and talk to the training staff and really get a grasp on it, knowing we still have some days before we have to make a decision, [we won’t know for sure,] but we’re certainly optimistic.”
Meanwhile, Roberts said he was waiting to see who emerged from the American League’s Game 7 showdown on Saturday night between the New York Yankees and Astros before he sets his World Series rotation. Houston won, 4-0.
“I think it’s going to be contingent upon tonight,” Roberts said. “We’ve got decisions left with two players in Rich and Yu. Who knows who will start two or three?”
The Dodgers’ pennant is the franchise’s first since 1988, which was also the last season L.A. won the World Series.