Dodgers News: Miguel Rojas Felt the ‘Necessity’ to Stay with LA and Skip World Baseball Classic
When the Dodgers acquired Miguel Rojas this offseason, the understanding was that the only thing possibly preventing Rojas from playing for Team Venezuela in the 2023 World Baseball Classic was the health of his wrist, which was injured last season and required two surgeries this winter. Once it was clear his wrist was doing well, Rojas was full steam ahead towards playing in the WBC.
That all changed this week, when Los Angeles shortstop Gavin Lux went down with a torn ACL in his right knee that will cause him to miss the entire season. Suddenly, what looked like a utility infielder role for Rojas turned into a starting shortstop job, and Rojas was faced with a tough decision.
On Thursday, Rojas told the media he had made the “heartbreaking” decision to bow out of the WBC, passing up on the opportunity to represent his country because he’s needed more at Camelback Ranch with his new team.
“The reason why is, a new opportunity opens up for me here to play every day at shortstop, and I just… I know I played for the organization a long time ago, but I just got [back] to this organization. There’s a lot of new faces, a lot of new people that I need to know, that I need to get used to.
“Especially with my offseason, this offseason, two wrist surgeries, I need to get at-bats, I need to get going, and my role with that Venezuelan team wouldn’t be playing every day. I would be more of a role player, a guy that could come in late in the game to play defense, I don’t know how many at-bats I would get.”
Rojas was going to get a lot of playing time as a utility player, but not nearly as much as he will as the primary shortstop. With the wrist injury, which hampered his swing for several months last year, it’s important for the veteran infielder to get as much playing time as possible to prepare for the season.
Rojas decided it was best for his career to stay with the Dodgers, but also that it was important for the career of another Miguel on the team.
“I talked to the GM, to the manager of the team, to the people running the Venezuelan team, and I said, ‘You know what, I feel the necessity for me, for my career, for the organization, for the Los Angeles Dodgers, to try to find a way to win a championship. And they’re counting on me. I need to stay and I need to keep building those relationships with guys, especially with Miggy [Miguel Vargas] at second base, knowing that he’s going to be playing for the first time at second every day.
“It’s something that I don’t take easy, this is a hard decision, but at the end of the day, it’s what I need to do for my future and for the organization, as well.”
Rojas has proven to be a team-first player in the two months since he came back to the franchise, and passing up on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent his country is the latest example of that.
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