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Dodgers suffer a big blow, losing starting SS Gavin Lux for the season with torn ACL

For the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't hesitate to let a pair of franchise shortstops walk away via free agency while staying out of that lucrative market themselves. Now, a crucial part of that formula will miss the entire 2023 season.

Gavin Lux, their longtime top prospect who took significant strides in 2022 while readying to succeed Trea Turner at shortstop, suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament during a baserunning mishap, the Dodgers announced Tuesday.

Lux, 25, is expected to miss the entire season while recovering.

His injury occurred in the sixth inning of Monday's Cactus League game against San Diego when he veered away from Padres third baseman Jantzen Witte, who had fielded a ground ball and was preparing to initiate a double play. Lux helped off the field and onto a cart by manager Dave Roberts.

MONDAY: Gavin Lux carted off field after injuring leg running bases

The club announced Tuesday he will undergo reconstructive surgery on March 7. He was a member of playoff clubs from 2019-2022, fulfilling a utility role, and last year accumulated 2.5 WAR while moving around the diamond.

Before injury, Gavin Lux was set to be the Dodgers' everyday shortstop in 2023.
Before injury, Gavin Lux was set to be the Dodgers' everyday shortstop in 2023.

Gavin Lux had been big part of LA's plans

Lux was yet another of the Dodgers' late-first round picks who blossomed into something special after they chose him 20th overall in 2016 out of a Kenosha, Wisconsin high school.

This year was to be one of permanence: The Dodgers anticipated making him their everyday shortstop after incumbent All-Star Trea Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Turner's departure came one year after he was acquired in a July 2021 trade and paired up the middle with shortstop Corey Seager, who left after that year for a 10-year, $325 million pact with the Texas Rangers.

After their departures, 2023 was Lux's time.

What now?

Instead, the Dodgers will look to a former farmhand and steady veteran, Miguel Rojas, to assume much of the load at short. Rojas was acquired in trade from the Miami Marlins and anticipated to fill a utility role.

The veteran had a feeling his role was to increase when Lux failed to respond to his text message, according to the Southern California News Group.

Now, Rojas will start a significant amount of games, but the downstream effect on the entire roster could be significant. Super utilityman Chris Taylor — expected to spend time at second, third, left and center field — will likely see significant starts at short, putting more pressure on Miguel Vargas (second base), Rojas and Trayce Thompson and Jason Heyward (center field). It also figures to open up more at-bats for recently signed outfielder David Peralta in left field.

And most notably, an expected cog will be lost until 2024, a key development in a National League West expected to be a two to four-team race with San Diego, San Francisco and Arizona.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gavin Lux injury: LA Dodgers lose 2023 starting shortstop to torn ACL