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Why Dodgers are playing the ‘long game’ with Corey Seager

Corey Seager had a cold last week, and the Dodgers quarantined their shortstop so as not to infect others in the clubhouse. As setbacks go, this was comparatively positive because Seager missed most of last season following Tommy John surgery and a hip operation. But it is at least some setback as Los Angeles tries ready its star shortstop for the season.

The hip has been a non-issue, though that surgery was Aug. 7 and the Tommy John procedure was May 4. Seager had yet to appear in a spring training game, as he continues the prescribed rehab for his arm.

“For us, we are definitely on the conservative side,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said “Every player is different. But at shortstop there are a lot of different types of throws you have to make and different arm angles. We are playing the long game to make sure there are no setbacks.”

Tommy John surgery for starting shortstops in the majors is rare. In Joe Roegele’s exhaustive online list for those who have undergone the procedure, it was Cesar Izturis in 2005, Zack Cozart in 2011, Rafael Furcal near the end of his career in 2013, Seager last year and Didi Gregorius in the offseason.

Like Seager, Gregorius is a bigger, lefty-hitting shortstop, and though all surgeries are not the same, the Yankees are attempting to bring back Gregorius in a shorter span — he had his surgery Oct. 17 — perhaps in eight or nine months. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman cautioned that since there was no chance for Seager to return during last season because of when the surgery occurred, the team has no feel for how quickly they could have gotten him healthy. Instead, they built a rehab to take time and have him back for the beginning of this season.

”He is doing really well,” Friedman said. “He has passed every individual test we have given him as far as leaving his feet on ground balls and getting up and getting to his arm. Running the bases. Taking a lot of swings. So now it is about doing it in a game and bouncing back and doing it again. That is the point in the progression where we are at right now.”


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