The 36-year-old Martin was sidelined temporarily with the same issue during spring training and blamed it. This moment, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said while Martin was taking ground balls throughout the team’s pre-game workout it flared up.
“Hopefully in the next coming days, it will dissipate,” Roberts said.
Rich Hill is scheduled to throw a three- or sim game when the team returns to Los Angeles on Friday. The next step will likely be a rehab start in the minors next week and maybe activation in the injured list then.
ST. LOUIS — A lower back problem that has bothered him at times flared up again and landed Russell Martin on the injured list Wednesday.
“We’ve had a great deal of discussions about giving himself the best opportunity to have success as a young participant in the major leagues, a bench player and that is to prepare and also have a regular every day, to be ready for whatever is requested of him,” Roberts said. “When matters of — he should be starting more and that and that — gets cloudy in a person’s head, it becomes foggy and that is where it starts to go down. So for a young man to have clarity to go along with his enthusiasm, that contributes to success.”
So for us, it was a no-brainer together with the IL.”
Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 1-0, 6.75 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha, 0-0, 1.54 ERA), Thursday, 10:15 a.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM
“He said he feels great,” Roberts explained. “Hopefully he continues to improve and we are going to place him at a bullpen to get down the incline. Then hopefully he’ll be all set.”
The Dodgers encouraged Rocky Gale from Triple-A Oklahoma City to replace Martin on the roster. Gale was two for 6 to begin the season. He was the choice over top catching Will Smith or prospects Keibert Ruiz due to the playing time available. Austin Barnes started eight of the first 13 games and will assume more of the workload with Martin sidelined.
“(Gale) is a fantastic receiver and may execute a gameplan,” Roberts stated. “I see him (Barnes) taking down the nighttime games and Rocky with the day games. But we could alter.
“We are going to lean on Austin but obviously still have to be mindful since we still have quite a ways to go.”
Gale has played 17 big-league games with the San Diego Padres (2015 and 2017) and Dodgers last year (three matches ).
Hyun-Jin Ryu threw on level ground Wednesday, testing his groin muscle. He’ll do the exact same at Los Angeles, likely with more intensity mimicking his delivery on Friday.
Alex Verdugo made his fourth start in six games Wednesday. The rookie outfielder began the season with seven hits in his first 16 at-bats, five for extra bases. However, Roberts said that did earn him more playing time.
“We’ll see which day gets the most sense,” Roberts stated. “But the next step is to pitch for all of us.”
Before the four-game show in St. Louis, Roberts said he intended to give off days to Justin Turner, Corey Seager, A.J. Pollock and Cody Bellinger. Bellinger is the only one will be in the lineup to the day game Thursday and left .
“That is what I expect to happen,” Roberts said. “Due to his arm strength is great. His bullpen was seen by me yesterday, he’s throwing the hell out of it. To get one sim game, up and down a few times, observe how he responds — I do not see why he wouldn’t be prepared to venture out on a rehab and return to us.”
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“I think we know the sort of player he is,” Roberts explained. “Needless to go out there and do it is not the same thing. But our intent all along … you’ve got him up here as a young player to get at-bats, to get begins.”