Kershaw, Scherzer among Dodgers stars with uncertain futures

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles Dodgers finally ran out of comebacks.

They won’t have a chance to defend their World Series title after losing to the Atlanta Braves in six games in the NL Championship Series. It might have been the last game together for such key veterans as Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, who will become free agents after the World Series.

“You’re saying goodbyes without really knowing,” Seager said. “You want to remember it, remember how it feels and prepare for next year, and you’re uncertain about where it will be.”

However, Seager made it clear he wants to stay in LA.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I grew up here. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I believe in what these guys do and how we go about it. Yeah. Absolutely.”

Taylor blasted three home runs in Game 5 against the Braves with the team on the brink of elimination to force the series back to Atlanta.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute I’ve been a Dodger.”

The potential roster upheaval doesn’t end this coming winter, either.

NL batting champion Trea Turner came over from Washington at the July trade deadline and paid immediate dividends. He can become a free agent after the 2022 season. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and 20-game winner Julio Urias will follow in 2023. Justin Turner has one year remaining on his contract.

“The six years I’ve been here, it’s been a core group of guys that could be turned over this winter,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m not looking forward to it. I wish we could have won another one with this group.”

The Dodgers did win 106 games, beat St. Louis in the NL wild-card game and outlasted the 107-win San Francisco Giants in five games to claim the NL Division Series.

They came into the NLCS without injured Kershaw and Muncy, then lost Turner and Joe Kelly to injury. Scherzer wasn’t able to pitch in Game 6 on Saturday night because of a tired arm.

They finished two wins shy of making their fourth World Series appearance in five years, losing to an Atlanta team with 18 fewer wins during the regular season.

“Everybody’s after you. It’s hard to be on top,” Mookie Betts said. “Everybody fights to get on top and then it’s a battle to keep everyone away.”

The Dodgers began the season with eight starters and tried to get through the postseason with just Walker Buehler, Scherzer and Urias. The lack of depth was exposed by the team’s decisions to use Scherzer in relief in Game 5 of the NLDS and Urias out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLCS that left both pitchers tired in their later starts.

“If you could guarantee that we could win Game 5 with someone else, I would have used someone else different,” Roberts said. “There’s a point that you just got to trust the player and I trusted Max.”

The 37-year-old Scherzer had one of his best stretches after joining the team at the trade deadline. He recorded his 3,000th career strikeout in September.

After some mid-season struggles, Jansen came on strong down the stretch, too.

Asked if he wants to return to the team, he said, “It’s not in my hands. I’m thankful to be here for all these years. I’ll always say, whatever happens, I’ll be grateful to the Dodgers.”

The team didn’t have reigning Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to help out. He’s been on paid administrative leave since July under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

“I just felt that we had the players that were active that could still win this series,” Roberts said. “We were ready to play through October. We just didn’t get it done.”

Astros star Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.