LOS ANGELES — The mysterious neck injury that caused Chris Taylor to be a late lineup scratch on Saturday now has the potential to take him out of the National League Division Series as well.
Manager Dave Roberts acknowledged his concerns before the Dodgers’ game against the Colorado Rockies on Monday, when Taylor received a cortisone injection to relieve the pain in his neck. Athletes typically need 24 to 48 hours after the shot before they are cleared to play, so it seems unlikely that Taylor will appear in another regular-season game.
The Dodgers will finish the season Wednesday afternoon against the Rockies, then have five days off before hosting Game 1 of the best-of-five NLDS on Oct. 11 against an opponent to be determined. That gives Taylor a week to recover, but Roberts acknowledged that isn’t a given.
“Talking about the neck … you have to be dynamic as a baseball player, defensively, offensively,” Roberts said. “From what I hear swinging hurts his neck.”
Taylor, 32, has been the Dodgers’ primary left fielder while also seeing time at five other positions. He’s hitting .221 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs. He leads the team in strikeouts with 160 in 118 games.
Roberts said the Dodgers will play three simulated games between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the NLDS. Those intrasquad at-bats will be Taylor’s only opportunity to warm up for the postseason, his sixth with the Dodgers.
Taylor won’t need a certain number of simulated at-bats to earn a spot on the NLDS roster, Roberts said.
“If he’s in there, his neck feels good, he’s earned the ability for us to trust him,” he said. “If his swing is not compensated it’s an easy decision.”
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Taylor did not discuss his injury with reporters prior to the game. A free agent for the first time last November, Taylor signed a four-year, $60 million contract with an option for a fifth year.
Trayce Thompson stands in line to pick up the bulk of Taylor’s at-bats, with Gavin Lux staying at second base.
Dustin May (back) reported no physical issues one day after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen. Roberts said the Dodgers will use their time off before the NLDS to try to build May up to pitch “three or four innings” in the postseason, if possible. … Blake Treinen (shoulder) threw a full bullpen without pain. … Andre Jackson was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Tony Gonsolin on the active roster. … Outfielder Kevin Pillar, who finished the season on a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City after recovering from a fractured bone in his shoulder, is expected to rejoin the team Friday.
Colorado (RHP Ryan Feltner, 3-9, 6.01 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias, 17-7, 2.12 ERA), Tuesday, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, FS1, 570 AM