When you are 61-30, as are the Los Angeles Dodgers, and have far and away from the best record in the National League, it’s easy to get complacent. But the Dodgers are looking ahead for how to gain an edge in their goal of capturing the World Series title that has eluded them since 1988. They came tantalizingly close in the last two years but lost each time in the Fall Classic to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox respectively.
Two players that the Dodgers would like to have on the field in October are shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder A.J. Pollack. Both have been out for significant stretches this year; Seager, since June 11th with a hamstring injury, and Pollack has been out since April 28th due to a bacterial infection and later having elbow surgery.
Missing large numbers of games is not optimal in any sport. Still, it is particularly tricky in baseball to come back from injuries, where such a significant focus of day-to-day success is predicated on repetitions and getting into good routines that come with the grinding 162 game season. For Seager, and especially for Pollack, they will be returning into the portion of the season where it will be difficult to expect a strong playoff return after missing so much time. Another player could be a better fit in the postseason if both are rusty after their recoveries.
To be as game-ready as possible for whenever they return, Pollack and Seager have enlisted some high-tech help by utilizing a virtual reality headset to speed up the process of returning to action. They hope to take advantage of the current stretch when both the minor and major leagues are on their All-Star break, and no games will be played. While each player took ten at-bats against minor league pitching last week, Seager took additional at-bats against simulated pitching. He first utilized the headset by using the technology to just track pitches but later used it actually to take swings while still wearing the device.