Dodgers healing up ahead of NLDS vs Nationals
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nagging injuries to Justin Turner, Rich Hill and Joe Kelly have improved enough that all three will be available when the Los Angeles Dodgers open the National League Division Series.
Manager Dave Roberts didn’t reveal his roster Tuesday for the best-of-five playoff that begins Thursday at Dodger Stadium against the Washington Nationals. And he didn’t announce a Game 1 starter, either.
But Roberts confirmed that two talented Dodgers rookies — catcher Will Smith and second baseman Gavin Lux — will be active. The manager also said the team will carry eight relievers.
Los Angeles worked out Thursday while the NL wild-card game between the Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers played on the stadium videoboards. The Dodgers wrapped up before the Nationals rallied to win 4-3.
The Dodgers took the season series from the Nationals, 4-3. The clubs split four games at Dodger Stadium, and Los Angeles won two of three in Washington.
Roberts said final roster spots were dependent on Turner’s status.
“That helps for solidifying the positional players’ side,” he explained.
Turner took some swings against Tony Gonsolin in a simulated game. The third baseman has started just three games since Sept. 7. He initially had a sprained left ankle, then a sore back that kept him out of the final five games of the regular season.
“The ankle is healed up, it’s just the back,” Roberts said. “I feel very confident that he’ll be able to perform at his level come Thursday.”
Hill was the only starter confirmed by Roberts, and the 39-year-old left-hander will go in Game 4 on the road, if necessary. He would pitch four innings.
Hill has struggled with injuries to his forearm and left knee.
Kelly threw a 20-pitch bullpen during the workout. The reliever has had an unspecified injury that’s limited him to six pitches in the last two weeks.
“I got the thumbs-up from him,” Roberts said. “He’ll be ready to go on Thursday in whatever role.”
Roberts reaffirmed his confidence in Kenley Jansen as the team’s closer.
The 31-year-old right-hander had 33 saves, but his ERA ballooned to a career-worst 3.71 this season.
“The goal is to get outs and he understands that,” Roberts said. “I want him to have the ball at the end of the game.”
The Dodgers open the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak. Their 106 wins were second only to Houston’s 107 in the majors.
“Top to bottom, it’s the best team we’ve had,” Roberts said.