The Los Angeles Dodgers, as everyone expected entering the 2023 season, are sitting comfortably atop the NL West. At the time of writing, the Dodgers have a 23-15 record heading into their Friday night tilt against division rival San Diego Padres. And now, as if the Dodgers didn’t already boast an embarrassment of riches, they just got back veteran slugger JD Martinez from the injured list.
Martinez suffered a back injury on April 23, when the Dodgers took on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. This kept him out for 20 days, but evidently, had the situation been more urgent, the 35-year old designated hitter could have returned sooner.
Speaking to reporters prior to his return against the Padres, JD Martinez revealed that he hasn’t really felt any considerable pain on his back for about a week. Nevertheless, he wanted to take the time to get back to game shape and to doing what he does best: tear the cover off the baseball.
“It’s been great for about a week,” Martinez said, per J.P. Hoornstra of Daily Breeze. “It’s just been slowly building up. Monday wasn’t pretty, as far as swinging-wise, and where my swing was at. Tuesday was better. Wednesday was a lot better.”
May 12 would mark the first time in exactly a month that the Dodgers lineup will be at full strength. JD Martinez is hitting cleanup in his return, his position in the batting order before going down with injury.
Martinez also shed some light on how he exacerbated his injury, blaming himself for “trying to be a hero” by continuing to suit up for the Dodgers even as he began to feel some pain on his back.
Nevertheless, Martinez is back now, and the Dodgers will be better off for it. Martinez’s peripheral batting stats may not be the best, as his strikeout to walk ratio is 5:1, but he gives the NL West favorites yet another intimidating presence at the heart of the order. Through 23 games played and 98 plate appearances, Martinez has put up a slash line of .250/.306/.534, as even in his declined state, he can still hit the ball out of the park often.
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