Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced this morning that infielder Gavin Lux suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during yesterday’s Cactus League game and will miss the 2023 season (Twitter thread via Juan Toribio of MLB.com). Lux also sustained damage to his right knee’s LCL. He’ll undergo surgery on March 7.
Lux, 25, was slated to step into the spotlight as the Dodgers’ primary shortstop following the free-agent departures of Corey Seager following the 2021 season and Trea Turner this past offseason. However, while advancing from second to third base on a grounder in yesterday’s game, Lux altered his course a bit to avoid a throw across the diamond. In doing so, the infielder’s knee buckled, and he immediately tumbled to the ground in pain. Lux was unable to put any weight on his right leg and was carted off the field.
With Lux now out for the season, the Dodgers’ January reacquisition of infielder Miguel Rojas now becomes a far more pivotal pickup. Rojas, who’s spent the past half decade as the Marlins’ primary shortstop (after being traded from the Dodgers to Miami), is a light hitter but grades out as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He’d been ticketed for a utility role but will now step up as the everyday shortstop in Lux’s absence. Roberts added that Swiss army knife Chris Taylor could get some reps in the infield as well, and Mookie Betts could see some extra work at second base for the Dodgers, too (Twitter link via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times).
The 2022 season saw Lux take the field for a career-high 129 games and slash 276/.346/.399 in a career-high 471 plate appearances. That was solid production — 13% better than average, per wRC+ — but it also bears mentioning that a woeful cold streak in September and October weighed down Lux’s end-of-season numbers. Lux was slowed by neck and and upper-back soreness late in the year, receiving a cortisone injection and missing about two weeks of action while mending that injury. Based on the way his season finished out, it doesn’t seem the injection and downtime had their intended effect.
Through Sept. 1, Lux was slashing a far more robust .293/.368/.428 in 418 plate appearances. During the season’s first five months, he walked at an 11% clip and fanned at a lower-than-average 18.9% rate. Upon returning on Sept. 17, however, Lux tallied 53 more plate appearances but hit just .154/.170/.192 with an alarming 30.2% strikeout rate and 1.9% walk rate.
More to come.