Trayce Thompson Didn’t Let Slow Start Get Him Down

Outfielder Trayce Thompson slogged through months of rehab for two stress fractures in his back—only to be assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

His manager Bill Haselman said the 26-year-old showed no signs of frustration.

“He’s the first one in to the clubhouse every day,” Haselman said. “He’s totally professional, and he’s been working real hard on his swing. If you didn’t know his batting average, you wouldn’t know (he opened the season in a deep slump).

“I hope the younger guys on the team see it and learn from it.”

It might be a long time before Thompson’s batting average is worth looking at after an 0-for-32 start to the season—which included eight hitless at-bats during a brief big league callup in April—and 2-for-61 anchor over the first month of the season.

“It’s not good if you just look at those numbers,” Thompson said during the slump, “but I was working on some mechanical things with (Oklahoma City hitting coach) Shawn Wooten,and I did feel a lot better than those numbers indicated.

“I’m a big guy and it takes some work to get everything in sync. It’s similar to last year. I didn’t really get going until a month or so into the season.”

Thompson’s 2016 season ended in July with a back injury, and his rehab went slowly. The Dodgers acquired him from the White Sox after the 2015 season in the three-team deal that sent Jose Peraza to the Reds. Chicago drafted him in the second round in 2009 out of a California high school.

“He’s 100 percent healthy and has been all year with us,” Haselman said. “But . . . when you miss that much time, you come back in and get started a little slower, and the next thing you know the season is here.

“I think it comes down to finding an efficient swing that works for him.”

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