September 23, 2020

Gavin Lux finally starting to play ‘free and easy’ for Dodgers

Baseball’s history is littered with prospects who never lived up to expectations.

Gavin Lux came into this season as hyped as any recent Dodgers prospect, tabbed as the frontrunner for the 2020 National League Rookie of the Year back in spring training and the latest luxury vehicle produced by the Dodgers’ player development assembly line.

But he arrived at Summer Camp late and was shunted off to the Dodgers’ alternate training site to find his swing. It wasn’t until the last week of August that Lux made his 2020 debut with the Dodgers and a 2-for-17 stretch followed during which Lux seemed to be carrying the weight of those expectations.

“No, not necessarily,” Lux said of that interpretation of his path this season.

“I don’t really look at is as a problem to have that pressure. Pressure is kind of like a privilege. I just didn’t have the at-bats I wanted. I just didn’t feel comfortable in the box at that time. Just going over to USC, getting at-bats on a daily basis helped me feel what I needed to and iron some things out. Just take it for what it is, but that’s what I needed. I got a lot of at-bats which was good.”

Only recently has Lux begun to look like the prospect who created those expectations. With his two-homer, five-RBI game Tuesday night in Arizona, he had come to life with five hits in 15 at-bats and four walks — one of which came after a 10-pitch battle in the ninth inning Sunday night against Rockies closer Daniel Bard. That prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to meet Lux at the top step of the dugout when the game ended.

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“I think he’s playing much more like himself, more free and easy,” Roberts said. “Just taking good, quality at-bats. Everyone knew it was in there. Sometimes it just takes a little time to get your feet under you.”

Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 08, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Though Lux dismisses it, Roberts acknowledges that the 22-year-old must feel the weight of expectations.

“I think so,” Roberts said. “It’s hard. I’ve never had to experience it. But any time you have such lofty expectations, you want to realize those goals and expectations. … Anywhere you turn, you’re reading what people think you should be. In reality, you’ve still got to go out there and play.”

CLEMENTE DAY

In celebration of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico natives on every team — and every member of Clemente’s former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates — wore No. 21 on Wednesday. The one-day honor is part of a movement by some to have Clemente’s 21 retired across baseball just as the league has done for Jackie Robinson’s number, 42.

Kiké Hernandez and Edwin Rios both wore 21 for the Dodgers on Wednesday.

“It’s special,” said Rios, who was born in Puerto Rico but …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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