Chris Taylor’s new $60 million, four-year deal with the Dodgers has been public knowledge for some time.
However, off-season surgery on his right elbow came as unknown news at Dodgers camp on Monday morning.
Speaking to reporters for the first time this spring, the Dodgers’ provider opened up about both winter developments and was happy to have both sidestepped into the new season.
“Hopefully I’ll feel good this year,” Taylor said. “And my arm will be a little better.”
Taylor has been quietly dealing with elbow discomfort for the final two months of last season, he said, with the pain bothering him most when extending his arm at the end of a swing.
“It was something I could create and like, just work on it and solve it,” he said. “I just had to handle the workload more than anything.”
Taylor, who also battled a pinched nerve in his neck on the track, didn’t think the issues were affecting his game. But it was additional complications that coincided with his .121 batting average and .402 percentage on basis plus slugging in September.
“When the game started, I didn’t realize it,” Taylor said. “It was more like preparing for the game and taking it easy. It would be the worst in the morning when I wake up stiff. But when the game started it didn’t affect my game or anything like that.”
Taylor rebounded with a strong postseason in which he hit four homers, including the walk-off blast in the winner-take-all wildcard game, and posted strong numbers overall in 2021, hitting .254 with 20 homers to help to earn his first career All-Star selection.
By the end of the season, however, Taylor said he had an MRI scan on his elbow that revealed “a bunch of bone chips, loose bits” that needed surgery to remove. After undergoing what manager Dave Roberts described as “minor surgery” in mid-November, he rehabilitated during the league’s lockout before returning to racquet swinging in January.
Taylor is on a throwing program to rebuild endurance in his arm and is expected to play the field for the first time in a spring game on Thursday. He’s only been a designated hitter so far, but should be “good to go” for the start of the season, according to Roberts.
“Stuff like that is good for you if you just get that arm care,” Taylor said of the rehab process. “Often times I think if you have an injury that forces you to do those things, it ends up working for the better and strengthening all those little muscles,” Taylor added. “The swing is fine [now]. … It’s nice to wake up in the morning and not have this tightness in my biceps and forearm.”
While Taylor was working on his elbow injury in November, he was also working on a new contract with the Dodgers as a first-time free agent.
“It was a new experience,” said Taylor. “I try to stay out of it as much as possible and let my agent handle most of it.”
Taylor said the Dodgers had always been his first choice and was grateful the sides worked out his deal – which runs until 2025 and includes a club option for 2026 – hours before lockdown began.
“It was great,” he said. “Just peace of mind knowing where I would be. I can’t imagine how hard it was for all the free agents who had to wait through all of this before they could negotiate.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-03-21/chris-taylor-dodgers-offseason-elbow-surgery The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor reveals he underwent off-season elbow surgery