Corey Seager not in Rangers lineup for his 1st regular-season return to Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Corey Seager returned to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night for the first time in the regular season since leaving the organization as a free agent after the 2021 season.

But he wasn’t in the Texas Rangers’ lineup.

Seager remains day-to-day with a left hamstring injury. He demurred when asked if he expects to play during the three-game series and described his status as “definitely trending. It's positive.”

“It’s hard not to play every day,” he said before the game. “You want to be out there with your guys.”

Seager got hurt against Detroit last week and Tuesday was the fourth straight game he's missed.

He first returned to Dodger Stadium at the 2022 All-Star Game. The 30-year-old shortstop made his name in Dodger blue, winning the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year award and being an All-Star in his first two full seasons.

The fans saluted him with loud cheers when he was introduced before the game and former teammate Clayton Kershaw led the applause from the opposing dugout. Seager stepped out of the Rangers dugout, doffed his cap and made a clapping gesture toward the crowd. A video recapping his Dodgers career was shown.

Seager led the Dodgers to the 2020 World Series title during the COVID-19 pandemic, earning NL MVP and World Series MVP honors.

“This organization kind of raised me, kind of made me the man I am today, taught me the game of baseball, made a lot of friends, made a lot of buddies, had a lot of good times out there so all those memories kind of flash back as you’re pulling in,” he said.

That's when it got a little confusing for Seager, who wasn't familiar with the visiting clubhouse.

“I had some guys ask me where to go and I didn’t know,” he said, smiling. “It’s been a lot of firsts, for sure.”

He credited the Dodgers for teaching him “how to win, how to do things the right way. It’s a first-class organization and you try to bring that to another first-class organization.”

Seager batted .297 with 59 home runs in 310 career games at Dodger Stadium.

After seven years in Los Angeles, Seager became a free agent and signed a $325 million, 10-year deal with the Rangers. He didn't miss a beat, becoming an All-Star in 2022 and '23, when he led Texas to the World Series championship and was named World Series MVP again.

“I don’t know if you ever thought it would be that fast,” Seager said of winning another championship. “Just kind of clicked at the right time and got hot in the playoffs and it turns into that.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recalled Seager as a “superstar, just a heady baseball player, great competitor and performed really well on the biggest of stages. A very good Dodger.”

Seager spent Monday with Dodgers utilityman Chris Taylor in Manhattan Beach. He was eager to catch up with other old friends, too.

For his part, Roberts has moved on, but his memories are all fond.

“Any team is better with Corey Seager,” he said.