Dodgers waiting for utility player Zach McKinstry to return, after an injury sent him to rehabilitation
April 29, 2021
The Dodgers came storming out of the gate this season with the support of rookie sensation, utility-player Zach McKinstry until he, unfortunately, suffered a right oblique strain retroactive April 22 which has continued to keep him on the shelf. The injury occurred while he was taking batting practice, and felt it on one particular swing of the bat. Oblique injuries take time to heal and he'll have to spend some time in Arizona on rehab assignment before coming back to the majors.
Before the injury, 25-year-old McKinstry played in 17 games, had 54 at-bats, scored seven runs with 16 hits, produced 14 runs-batted-in, and three homers for an average of .296. Not bad for the 33rd round Dodger draftee in the 2016 First-Year Player draft out of Central Michigan University. As you can see, he's a good lefty bat, can hit for average and power...and plays multiple positions.
When Kike Hernandez signed with the Red Sox in free agency, it opened the door for McKinstry to potentially fill his void as a first-class utility player. That potential has seemed to morph into a reality very quickly. He is the creme that is rapidly rising to the top, appearing at four different positions so far this season. He's Chris Taylor-esque, which is a good thing since Taylor is a free-agent at the end of this season and is a question mark in returning. There are many other Dodger players that the ball club will need to take care of besides Taylor.
McKinstry also achieved something that rarely happens in the majors on April 3 at Coors Field against the Rockies. An inside-the-park homer, his first career home-run, becoming the first Dodger to accomplish the feat since Duke Snider (May 2, 1948).
He's gotten some very high praise from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, comparing him to retired Chase Utley, another tough-nosed, never-take-a-play-off kind of a player. Managers love those types.
"We're just kind of seeing him mature right in front of us, really quickly," Roberts said. "I don't think the game is too fast for him...each time he gets out there, he gets better."
When he returns to the lineup, if McKinstry continues to perform like he's done this first month of baseball at the plate and in the field, he will become a key cog in the Dodgers defense of last years World Series championship.