Once a heralded shortstop prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, Gavin Lux has spent the overwhelming majority of his time playing out of position at the Major League level.
That was set to change this season with the Dodgers not making a bid to re-sign Trea Turner. For the first time since Corey Seager became the everyday starter in 2016, the Dodgers did not have an All-Star shortstop entrenched at the position.
Unfortunately, Lux suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee during Spring Training. He underwent surgery on March 7, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and is out for the entire 2023 season.
Facing a long rehab process initially proved daunting for the 25-year-old, but he’s been encouraged by recent progress.
“It’s going good. It’s a slower process still, but I’m able to do more exercises now where you’re hinging and doing hip strengthening stuff, half squats, biking, elliptical,” Lux told DodgerBlue.com in an exclusive interview.
“So I’m starting to do some more exercises, which is good. Before, I felt like I was just sitting on the training room table for three hours, trying to get range of motion back. So in that sense it’s definitely going good and making it a little more interesting I guess.”
Lux started playing catch from flat ground last month and hoped to continuously increase his level of activity.
“The goal is to try to start my running progression late June, into July, and hitting off a tee end of July, early August,” Lux explained.
“If I can get through that, training wheels will be off a little bit and I can do weight room stuff. I’ve just got to get to that point.”
Without Lux, the Dodgers turned to Miguel Rojas as their starting shortstop. He has struggled both remain healthy and generate any sort of consistency at the plate, which led to increased opportunities for Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts.
Betts has played the position well despite never having done so in his career, and it’s afforded the Dodgers more flexibility to get an additional left-handed hitting outfielder in their lineup.
Gavin Lux off crutches
Lux needed crutches for the first few months of his recovery, which prevented him from being able to join his Dodgers teammates in the dugout, per MLB rules. Now he feels like part of the team once again.
“Before, when I was just coming to the stadium for two hours and leaving, it just felt weird,” Lux recalled. “But being around your guys and having that clubhouse interaction every day kind of keeps me sane. Being around helps a ton.
“The hardest part is just mentally. Physically, I get three hours a day where I get to bust my ass and try to strengthen everything around it and get myself where I want to be. But the hardest part is all the free time after that.
“You’re so used to being at the field, taking ground balls, hitting, trying to get ready for a game. It’s just a lot of free time, so mentally it’s a little bit more of a grind than physically.”
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