JULY 6: Taylor has landed on the injured list as expected, with utilityman Zach McKinstry reinstated from the IL take his active roster spot. Manager Dave Roberts acknowledged it’s “a safe bet” that Taylor wouldn’t be back before the All-Star Break, but the club hasn’t provided a more specific timetable (via Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times).
JULY 5: Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor was diagnosed with a fracture in his left foot, he told reporters (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register). He’ll likely be placed on the injured list tomorrow; a timetable for his return isn’t yet clear.
Taylor departed last night’s contest against the Rockies in the sixth inning. The club called the issue ankle swelling at the time, but he went for a CT scan this afternoon. The testing revealed the presence of a fracture, an injury which seems likely to cost him a fair bit of time. Los Angeles will surely provide more details on Taylor’s specific diagnosis and recovery outlook over the next few days.
Re-signed to a four-year contract over the offseason, Taylor has again served a key role for manager Dave Roberts. He’s gotten the start for 56 of the club’s 79 games in left field, in addition to seven nods in center and right field apiece. Long noted for his defensive versatility, Taylor has played exclusively in the outfield this season but no doubt still retained the ability to step onto the infield dirt if the club needed.
It hasn’t been a vintage offensive showing for Taylor, who owns a .238/.319/.409 line through 285 plate appearances. He’s still walking at a strong rate and has collected 19 doubles, but he’s struck out at a personal-high 35.4% clip. Nevertheless, Taylor’s five-year track record of solidly above-average offense offered reason to believe he’d bounce back from a down month of June.
It’s the second corner outfield injury in recent weeks for L.A. to navigate. Mookie Betts missed time with a small rib fracture, returning over the weekend. While Roberts suggested Betts could break back in as a second baseman to ease his throwing responsibilities, he’s been pencilled into right field in two of three games since his reinstatement. The Dodgers dealt for Trayce Thompson to platoon with Eddy Alvarez once Betts went down; the club has since selected Jake Lamb (who’s starting in left field tonight) and optioned Alvarez out, but they figure to turn to another platoon arrangement to handle left field in the short term.
Depending on Taylor’s recovery outlook, it’s possible the Dodgers could look to the trade market for a more impactful pickup than Thompson. Ian Happ, Anthony Santander and Andrew Benintendi are among the higher-impact, regular outfielders who could be made available over the coming weeks. There’s also the possibility of a prospect promotion to help fill the void. Miguel Vargas, for instance, is hitting very well with Triple-A Oklahoma City and was floated as a potential alternative once Betts was injured. Vargas, a trade baseman by trade, made a pair of minor league starts in left field recently but otherwise has played exclusively on the infield as a pro.