In Sunday’s game, both J.D. Martinez and Will Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers sustained injuries. While Smith’s elbow contusion is not expected to keep him away from the lineup in the upcoming series against the Oakland Athletics, Martinez’s strained hamstring is a cause for concern. The Dodgers are set to undergo further evaluation through an MRI, as the injury raises worries about his availability in the coming games.
Martinez had previously dealt with hamstring tightness earlier last week but had not required an MRI or stint on the injured list. However, the current injury has prompted medical investigations to assess the extent of damage and determine the necessary course of action.
Losing either player for an extended period would be challenging for the Dodgers, but replacing Martinez poses a relatively easier task than filling Smith’s role in the lineup. The Dodgers currently hold a 2-game lead over the San Francisco Giants as they compete for another division title, and the absence of key players could impact their chances.
Smith, being an All-Star, has been a main offensive producer for the team. In contrast, Austin Barnes has struggled offensively this season, with a .114 batting average, no home runs, 5 RBI, and a .334 OPS. Notably, when Smith was previously on the injured list, the Dodgers faced difficulties and struggled to secure victories during those games. Given Barnes’ performance, the Dodgers may need to explore options for another backup catcher before the trading deadline.
Martinez, on the other hand, plays a vital offensive role in the Dodger lineup alongside stars like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith. His impressive .260 batting average with 25 home runs, 75 RBI, and an .875 OPS makes him a key player to replace. To address his absence, the Dodgers could deploy Max Muncy as a designated hitter against right-handed pitching, allowing for a better fielding third baseman. Against lefties, Chris Taylor or Kiké Hernández could serve as the designated hitter.
Moreover, the Dodgers have the option to recall either Michael Busch or Yonny Hernández to step in for Martinez during his recovery period.
As the Dodgers navigate injury concerns for Martinez and Smith, their depth and strategic adjustments will be critical factors in maintaining their lead in the division race. With the trading deadline approaching, the team may consider acquiring additional support to strengthen their roster during this crucial period of the season.