Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke hurts neck in taxi incident en route to Citi Field

ByBrian Heyman ESPN logo
Sunday, July 26, 2015

NEW YORK -- Scott Van Slyke took a cab ride Saturday bound for the Los Angeles Dodgers' game against the New York Mets at Citi Field in Queens, but the trip took a turn for the worse in Manhattan when the outfielder/first baseman's driver slammed on the brakes to avoid another car.

Van Slyke's head hit the partition between the front and back seats, and he emerged with a neck problem. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Sunday that Van Slyke had been unavailable for Saturday night's 15-2 loss because of stiffness but that he should be available for the series finale off the bench. Van Slyke, though, said he was still stiff and sore, and that he hadn't tried to swing.

"It's just real sore," Van Slyke told in the Los Angeles clubhouse before the game. "I kind of just got some whiplash."

The incident was reminiscent what happened to Tom Glavine when he was a pitcher for the Mets in 2004. His taxi collided with an SUV near LaGuardia Airport. Glavine's face hit the partition. But that resulted in at least 40 stitches. He lost two front teeth and suffered soreness in his shoulder, collarbone, ribs and knees.

While Van Slyke didn't experience a collision or as severe an aftermath, he still didn't sound too thrilled with the cabbie's driving skills.

"I feel like it shouldn't have happened at all," Van Slyke said. "He kind of just stopped quickly. There was a car in front of us, but he had more time to ease into it."

Van Slyke is batting .254 and with four homers and 18 RBIs in 54 games heading into Sunday's series finale. There was improvement in his neck from Saturday night to Sunday morning.

"I could barely turn my neck last night," Van Slyke said. "It's much better today, but it's still pretty stiff. I'm going to try to get as loose as I can and try to hold off my swing until I need to."

The Dodgers made two roster moves after Saturday night's game, optioning battered relievers Chin-Hui Tsao and Josh Ravin to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Before Sunday's game, they activated Zack Greinke from the paternity list to take the start and they recalled righty reliever Yimi Garcia from Triple-A.

Despite his shaky major league debut Saturday, Zach Lee not only survived the roster machinations, at least for now, but Mattingly also indicated he could start next Sunday at home against the Angels. He couldn't be recalled for 10 games if he were sent down unless a player went on the DL.

"Well, you need a fifth starter, don't you?" Mattingly said. " ... As of right now, he's here. It's all about the 10 days."

But Mattingly may also soon be able to consider Carlos Frias. The righty, who made 12 starts before going on the DL on July 5 with a back injury, was scheduled to throw 50 pitches in a rehab appearance on Sunday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Mattingly said the plans for him from here are "up in the air," depending on how Frias is feeling.

"It could be the rotation; it could be in the bullpen," Mattingly said. "You never know where Carlos can end up."