It’s been a long and winding road for Steven Souza Jr and his career. After a couple of productive years in the big leagues, an awful knee injury completely derailed his career. Two years later, Souza is starting games in right field for the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
As it turns out, Souza almost thought his playing days were over before the Dodgers came calling. He was released by the Astros after a Spring Training where he batted .095 in 21 at-bats at age 32. Things were not looking promising for him.
But as he described in his postgame press conference on Wednesday, the Dodgers came in and gave him new life.
These guys talked me out of it and let me know that it was still in there. You know, my wife believed in me and all my family and friends believed it, but when you struggle through an injury for a couple of years, and you’re just not doing what you’re used to doing eventually you start thinking, ‘Well, maybe I just can’t do it anymore.’ This organization put the belief back in my heart. …They threw me a raft and let me breathe and kind of reset myself. I’m forever grateful for it.
At the peak of his game, Souza was a solid defender who hit 30 homeruns and reached base at a .351 clip. He showed up to the Dodgers minor leagues and hit 6 homeruns in 22 games before getting the callup.
Souza also helps the Dodgers with their left-handed pitching issue. He’s been better against southpaws in his career and has shown a lot of power against them. It’s unclear how long he will stick with the big league team in this stint, but he could help big time down the stretch.