PHILADELPHIA — The elbow pain that limited Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to pinch-hitting for 11 games remains a problem and Dave Roberts acknowledged Monday that probably won’t change this season.
“I know from the medical staff that it’s not 100 percent,” the Dodgers manager said. “But it’s playable obviously.”
Seager played nine consecutive games after returning to the lineup but did not start at shortstop in the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. Roberts said it was “just a day off” and probably the last one Seager would get, insisting it was based on the schedule and a ball Seager fouled off his calf Sunday night and had nothing to do with the elbow issue.
But Seager’s throws have been visibly different since he returned from the down time. He seems to be throwing from a lower arm slot and putting only enough into the throws to make a particular play. Roberts indicated that Seager might be altering his throwing motion to avoid pain.
“I think there’s a little bit of preservation, understanding where his arm is at,” Roberts said. “I don’t think it’s 100 percent. I think he is doing a little bit of guarding against it and protecting. He knows his body very well and he knows when to let it go, when not to. But I do think it’s clear he’s doing some protecting.
“I do think he’s not showing the arm strength that he does have because I think he’s trying to manage it.”
Seager has said the elbow pain “bites” him only on certain throws. He was receiving treatment before the game Monday and did not take part in the Dodgers’ workout.
Roberts said he believes Seager can summon his full arm strength if a strong throw is needed to make a play.
“I think so. I don’t think it’s a concern,” Roberts said. “From the medical staff to the training staff to Corey, it’s something that he feels he can manage. But if he needs to jump on it a little more, he’ll do that.”
In the seventh inning Sunday night, however, he couldn’t. With two outs, Anthony Rendon doubled to left field. Jayson Werth scored from first when Seager’s poor relay throw went over the catcher’s head.
“He didn’t get behind it and it sailed on him,” Roberts said. “There’s some guarding against it. But again with Corey, he’s gotta manage it how he feels fit. You could argue, yeah, last night was a situation where he could have let it go. We’ve seen more on throws in the past. That clearly…