Although the Texas Rangers (32-35) cannot afford to overlook the Los Angeles Dodgers (42-27) in Thursday night's rubber match, they are gearing up for a pivotal series against the American League West-leading Seattle Mariners. Consequently, manager Bruce Bochy is being careful in LA.

Corey Seager, who enjoyed a notable return to Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, is not playing for the Rangers after just recovering from a hamstring strain. The team's future Hall of Fame manager is explaining the reason for the absence.

“Bruce Bochy said they’re ‘being cautious' with Corey Seager,”'s Kennedi Landry reported on X. “He had a bit of tightness while getting ready today and they want him to be a full go in Seattle. Bochy said he’ll likely be back out there tomorrow against the Mariners.”

Given the four-time All-Star shortstop's medical history, the reluctance to slot him in the lineup, even in a designated hitter capacity, makes sense. Enduring this type of dilemma is particularly stressful when the athlete in question is earning $325 million, but a healthy Seager is a vital part of the Rangers' big-picture outlook for the 2024 season.

If he cannot shake this nagging hamstring issue that has hampered him throughout his career, then the Rangers are unlikely to climb their way back up the league and division standings. Since the two-time World Series MVP misses a chunk of time almost every season, Bochy knows how important it is for him to pick his spots when giving him a day off.

Clearly, he views this upcoming face-off in T-Mobile Park as a potential turning point in the year.

Rangers need to gain momentum soon

Los Angeles, California, USA; Texas Rangers infielder Corey Seager is recognized before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners' stout starting pitching rotation has enabled them to build a a six and a half game lead over the Rangers. They can secure a commanding advantage with a successful showing at home this weekend. Or, the defending World Series champions can make significant progress in their pursuit of consecutive postseason berths for the first time in eight years.

Texas' offense looks far different from the elite version it showcased in 2023, as multiple All-Star caliber talents are performing considerably below their standard. Corey Seager initially fit in that unfortunate category, but he has found his groove during the last month. The 30-year-old mashed eight home runs across an eight-game stretch in May, reminding everyone what he can do at the dish when at his best.

After missing a week of action, Seager showed no signs of rust in his Dodgers' homecoming. He hit the difference-making dinger in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over his former team. On cue, the clutch star delivered just when his scuffling club needed him most. And in order to ensure that he can rescue the Rangers plenty of more nights in 2024, Bruce Bochy is exercising caution.

Following a bit of a layoff, there is no telling how the hamstring could respond. Hopefully, an inactive Thursday can get Seager close to full strength for Friday's game in Seattle. But that means Texas will definitely be at less than full strength against LA.