PHILADELPHIA -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expects to play Corey Seager every day down the stretch, even while acknowledging that the team's star shortstop is not at full strength physically and is operating in "preservation'' mode with his sore right elbow.
Seager made an errant relay throw in the Dodgers' 7-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday night. He sat out in favor of Kike Hernandez in the opener of a four-game series against the Phillies, but Roberts said he simply wanted to give Seager a rest after he fouled a ball off his calf and the Dodgers arrived in Philadelphia at a late hour.
Nevertheless, Roberts said the injury is something Seager and the team will have to monitor the rest of this season.
"I think there's a little bit of preservation, with Corey understanding where his arm is at,'' Roberts said. "I don't think it's 100 percent. He knows his body very well, and he knows when to let it go and when not to. I think it's clear that he's doing some protecting.
"I don't think it's affecting the bat. But he's not showing the arm strength he has, because I think he's trying to manage it.''
Seager, who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and finished third in MVP balloting in 2016, is hitting .303 with 20 homers, 71 RBIs and an .871 OPS this season. He ranks second to Cody Bellinger among Dodgers position players with 4.5 wins above replacement.
But an MRI in late August revealed swelling and inflammation in Seager's elbow, and he recently told reporters that offseason surgery is a possibility.
Seager has hit .216 (8-for-37) with two doubles and a home run since his return to the starting lineup Sept. 8 against Colorado.
Roberts said he plans to reinsert Seager in the starting lineup on a regular basis Tuesday because the team's doctors and training staff have indicated rest will not have a positive impact on his elbow issues.
"Our staff is on top of it,'' Roberts said. "(We) feel that he can play a premium position and make the throws that are needed and not put himself in immediate jeopardy, or even jeopardy down the road. All signs are he can manage it.
"With something like this, the rest doesn't necessarily help and the activity of keeping it warm is a benefit to Corey. That's the understanding I get from him and the doctors. I actually don't see him taking a day even after we clinch.''
The Dodgers entered Monday's series opener in Philadelphia with a 9½-game lead over Arizona in the National League West. Any combination of four Los Angeles wins or Arizona losses would clinch the Dodgers' fifth straight division title.