Despite struggling for much of the season, Brian Dozier attempted to dismiss any talk that he was playing hurt. Until now.
The second baseman, whom the Twins dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, told the Los Angeles Times last weekend that he has been playing through a knee injury since early in the season.
“It’s been a struggle,” Dozier said. “I’ve had a knee issue since the beginning of the year.”
Dozier, who hit .271 with 34 home runs last season for the Twins, was hitting .227 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 104 games when he was traded to the Dodgers for second baseman Logan Forsythe and prospects Luke Raley (first base/outfield) and Devin Smeltzer (lefthanded pitcher).
Dozier got off to a good start with the Dodgers, hitting a home run in each of his first two games, but he was batting only .193 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 35 games for Los Angeles entering Wednesday’s game against Cincinnati. Dozier went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in the Dodgers’ 8-1 victory.
Dozier’s injury, according to the Times, dates to April when he suffered a bone bruise on his right knee. Structural damage was ruled out after an MRI but the soreness remained and Dozier told the paper that the inability to swing freely has compromised his swing. “If one side of your leg is not working, find a way to use your other side,” he said. “That’s just my mentality.”
Despite the fact a trip to the 10-day disabled list could have given Dozier time to recover, he said neither the Twins nor the Dodgers had suggested it. He also told the Times had no interest in going on the DL.
“That’s not me,” Dozier said. “I’ve never been on the DL. I hope to not ever be. My mentality has always been, you can still be productive if you’re not 100%. I’m still trying to find ways to be productive.”
Unfortunately for Dozier, he hasn’t been nearly as productive as the Twins or Dodgers hoped he would be in 2018.