As expected, the Dodgers have placed infielder David Freese on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain, as reported by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Catcher Will Smith has been recalled to take Freese’s spot on the active roster.
Freese, 36, has emerged as a key part of the Dodgers’ offense, posting a career-best .308/.407/.592 slash line. The veteran infielder earned himself a one-year contract to return to Los Angeles after an impressive showing late last season, when he was acquired from the Pirates in August. This season, he has doubled down on that production and shown himself a steady contributor at the corner infield.
Though Freese made a name for himself as a third baseman, he has suited up primarily at first for the first-place Dodgers, often spelling Max Muncy against left-handed pitchers. Surely, Freese will be missed, but Muncy has shown himself more than capable of handling southpaws when called upon, and the versatile Dodgers have a number of options who can pick up slack in Freese’s absence: Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, and Matt Beaty have experience at first, and the Dodgers would like Joc Pederson to get more reps there.
Smith rejoins the Dodgers after getting his first taste of the Majors in May. Smith, regarded as an above-average offensive performer at the catcher position, flashed that potential in his first big-league stint, but hasn’t gotten enough experience to draw many conclusions. His numbers in Triple-A this season are impressive, slashing a tidy .291/.397/.609 in 49 games.