Dodgers’ Corey Seager caps return from dual surgeries with a home run

first_imgLAST MAN INWhen the Dodgers set their season-opening roster Thursday morning, right-hander Brock Stewart claimed the final spot. He will serve as the long man in the Dodgers’ bullpen, a role that became available with Julio Urias and Ross Stripling opening the season in the starting rotation rather than in the bullpen.Stewart got the nod over right-hander Dennis Santana based on his experience at the big-league level and greater maturity as a pitcher, Roberts said. The 22-year-old Santana made one appearance with the Dodgers last season and finished the season on the DL with a shoulder injury. Stewart, 27, has been up and down with the Dodgers each of the past three seasons, making 33 appearances in all (including 11 starts).“Brock has obviously pitched here at this level, had some success,” Roberts said. “If an inning does get long, I feel much more comfortable extending Brock to 25, 30 pitches. If it does get to that point, let alone multiple innings … (some factors are) the experience, the comfort level, the safety of the two different players.”Stewart pitched the last two innings of Thursday’s opener, allowing three runs.NUMBERS GAMEMatt Kemp was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in December, but his number 27 will be back in the Dodgers’ outfield this season. Alex Verdugo switched from the No. 61 he wore during major-league call-ups the past two seasons and will wear No. 27 this year.Related Articles When he got back on a field against major-leaguers in the final week of the Cactus League schedule, Seager shrugged off the achievement and said he never took a moment to appreciate how far he had come in the past 11 months. That didn’t change Thursday.“Not really. I tried not to think about it too much and treat it like any Opening Day,” he said. “I didn’t really want to go back there. I really just tried to enjoy the moment. Be present.”Seager acknowledged the low point came after the hip surgery when the progress he had made in recovering from the elbow surgery seemed to disappear while he limped around on crutches. But he wouldn’t admit to any dark thoughts even in those days.“Not really,” he said. “It was hard but you kind of knew it and expected it. Just tried to get through it, basically.“It’s nice to feel healthy.” Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season LOS ANGELES — In the 45 years since Dr. Frank Jobe performed the surgery for the first time, Corey Seager might have completed the smoothest recovery from Tommy John surgery in the history of the procedure.“It might be,” Seager said with a laugh after hitting a home run in his first game since undergoing both the elbow surgery and arthroscopic hip surgery. “Thank you. Glad it was for me.”As Seager progressed through spring training, checking off boxes first in workouts and then in games, there were no setbacks, allowing for him to be in the Dodgers’ Opening Day lineup back at shortstop for the first time since last April 29.“I didn’t think I’d hit a home run,” he said when asked if Thursday’s return represented the best-case scenario he could have envisioned. “That was kind of the goal, though. It’s always in the back of your mind (to get back for Opening Day) and you hope it works out. Fortunately, it did.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “That was my number in OKC and Team Mexico,” Verdugo said of his time in Triple-A and in the World Baseball Classic. “So when I had a choice between 61 and 27, I went with my favorite number – 27.”DEPTH ADDThe Dodgers signed left-hander Rob Zastryzny to a minor-league contract after he was released by the Chicago Cubs last week.Zastryzny, 27, was the 41st player taken in the 2013 draft and made cameo appearances with the Cubs each of the past three seasons. He appeared in 18 games (one start), going 2-0 with a 4.41 ERA.UP NEXTDiamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray) at Dodgers (RHP Ross Stripling), Friday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AMcenter_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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