Seager left off NLCS roster due to back strain

Seager left off NLCS roster due to back strain

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers All-Star shortstop Corey Seager was removed from the 25-man roster for the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World against the Cubs due to a lower back strain. Seager sustained the injury on Monday night in Game 3 of the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

The injury occurred when Seager slid into second base on Cody Bellinger's RBI groundout in the first inning of the NLDS clincher, but he played the entire game.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 14 LAD 5, CHC 2 WATCH
Gm 2 Oct. 15 LAD 4, CHC 1 WATCH
Gm 3 Oct. 17 LAD 6, CHC 1 WATCH
Gm 4 Oct. 18 CHC 3, LAD 2 WATCH
Gm 5 Oct. 19 LAD 11, CHC 1 WATCH

"It got to the point where he was getting stretched out in the middle of the game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We asked him and the training staff if he could keep going, and he was adamant that he was fine. I think that [was] the adrenaline and ... after the game was over the adrenaline subsides, and then there's more kind of soreness or tightening up or whatever it might be, I think, kind of took place.

"The following days, it just got worse, I guess. So he an epidural and tried to keep it at bay. And with that, there was improvement each day."

Seager received an epidural injection on Tuesday, had the back scanned and missed workouts Thursday and Friday. On Friday, Roberts said the injury was muscular, and he sounded confident Seager would feature in the series.

"It just didn't improve as much," Roberts said. "Optimistic, hopeful, yeah. And Corey was, too. As it came down to setting your roster and feeling, is he able to feel confident in his body to not only be out there but to perform? So that's something that the doctors and training staff decided, that to have him active wouldn't be the right thing to do."

If the Dodgers advance to the World Series, Seager can be added back to the active roster. To activate him during the NLCS, the Dodgers would have to replace a player certified as injured, and the move must be approved by MLB. An injured player substituted for during a series is ineligible to return for the next series. Roberts said if the Dodgers thought Seager would have been ready by Game 3 that he probably would have remained active.

"Yeah, I think that's fair," Roberts said. "If it was Game 3, we'd have done something different."

Seager left off NLCS roster

In addition to Seager's absence, the Dodgers dropped reliever Pedro Baez from the NLCS roster and added infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson.

Culberson started at shortstop in Game 1 against Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana. Outfielders Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez can play shortstop, or the club can move second baseman Logan Forsythe to short and start Chase Utley at second base.

"At the end, we decided that with the lefties that they've got potentially going against us and having Charlie being able to catch the baseball at short ... it just made sense for us to not have Corey on the roster," Roberts said.

The Dodgers were 92-42 when Seager started at shortstop this season, 8-8 with Hernandez (8-8), 3-7 with Taylor, 0-1 with Culberson and 1-0 with Forsythe starting there. Culberson spent most of the 2017 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, playing only 15 games for the Dodgers and going 2-for-13 at the plate. He was on the NLDS roster last season and went 0-for-7 in four games against the Nationals. But he also slugged a walk-off homer in the NL West-clinching game last year, Vin Scully's last home game at the microphone.

The addition of the left-handed-hitting Pederson gives the club the flexibility to potentially move Hernandez or Taylor to the infield.

The Dodgers will carry 11 pitchers, three catchers, five infielders and six outfielders.

As they did in the NLDS, the Dodgers kept third catcher Kyle Farmer, allowing them to use Austin Barnes or Yasmani Grandal as a pinch-hitter. Barnes is expected to be the club's primary backstop after going 4-for-8 with a home run and three RBIs in the NLDS against the D-backs.

Pitchers (11): Tony Cingrani, Yu Darvish, Josh Fields, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow, Ross Stripling, Tony Watson, Alex Wood.

Catchers (3): Austin Barnes, Kyle Farmer, Yasmani Grandal.

Infielders (5): Cody Bellinger, Charlie Culberson, Logan Forsythe, Justin Turner, Chase Utley.

Outfielders (6): Curtis Granderson, Andre Ethier, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.