Considered winners after the major-league trade deadline on Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are far from complete as they head into the finale of a three-game series Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Dodgers All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts is expected to come off the injured list Sunday after dealing with right-hip inflammation.
"The training staff has been doing a great job in getting me and my body ready," said Betts, 28. "So it's definitely been a team effort to get ready."
It would be understandable if Betts were in a hurry to return. On Friday, the Dodgers added right-handed starting pitcher Max Scherzer, infielder Trea Turner and left-hander Danny Duffy in two separate trades.
In addition, 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager came off the injured list Friday after spending 2 1/2 months recovering from a broken bone in his right hand. Seager did not start Saturday as he is being eased back into the lineup, but he had two hits in the series opener.
Scherzer was in uniform and on the Dodgers' bench Saturday, with his debut in blue expected Wednesday against the Houston Astros. Still set to arrive are Turner, who is on the COVID-19 list, and Duffy, who is on the injured list with a forearm flexor strain.
Then there is three-time Cy Young Award-winning left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who is close to a return from elbow inflammation -- although he still is experiencing residual soreness from a throwing session Tuesday.
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias (12-3, 3.54 ERA) will try to hold down his end of the bargain on Sunday. He is 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA in six career appearances (three starts) vs. the Diamondbacks.
Arizona has been playing much better of late and will lean on left-hander Caleb Smith (3-7, 4.61) to help them win the series on Sunday. Smith is 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA in six career outings (four starts) against the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks had won seven of 10 games before Saturday's 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. Arizona is trying to win its third series since the start of July after not winning one since taking three of four from the Colorado Rockies on April 29-May 2.
It is commendable the Diamondbacks even have a chance at a series victory given a slew of circumstances. Closer Joakim Soria was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, while five players went on the COVID-19 IL on the same day -- including outfielder Stuart Fairchild and right-hander Noe Ramirez, who tested positive.
Players such as third baseman Drew Ellis, who made his first career start Saturday, could end up bringing a new energy to the desert for an Arizona team that is an MLB-worst 33-72.
"I think (the team's younger players) do a really good job," veteran Diamondbacks infielder Asdrubal Cabrera said. "I know it's been a tough year. They always come every day to learn and to play baseball. I think that's really important."
--Field Level Media