Before the Los Angeles Dodgers had reached San Francisco, much less the All-Star break, their sights were set on the three-game series with their division rival.

Manager Don Mattingly utilized the break to reset his rotation so that Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu would start this weekend.

However, for as calculated as that decision may have been, there was another, albeit not as planned, that was the story heading into the series opener. The Dodgers played the game with an outfield alignment they’d yet to use this season.

Yasiel Puig not only returned to the lineup, he made his first start in center field this season — and seventh career start at the position.

As a result, Matt Kemp remained in right field, which may now be his new home, and Carl Crawford started in left. The shuffling didn’t cause any defensive issues, though Greinke did record 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings.

Following the win, Mattingly said Puig may be the Dodgers’ best option in center and is unsure how long he’ll remain there, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:

We feel, with our combination of guys, this may be our best chance in center field,” Mattingly said. “It could be a day, it could be a week, it could be forever — or as long as he plays. We don’t really know, but we know he’s physically capable of handling the spot.”

While Puig stated he’s willing to play at any position he’s asked, he admitted to being fond of center field:

I just want to be on the field helping my team win,” Puig said after the game. “Whatever position they ask me to play, I’m going to do my best. I do prefer center field a little bit, because I can run more.”

What this means for the rest of the Dodger outfielders remains to be seen. Although Matt Kemp believes his rightful spot is in center, he’s admitted to being more comfortable in right field compared to left, and looked the part.

However, Kemp has also been involved in endless trade rumors within the past week and could be on his way out. Should Kemp remain with the team and if Puig anchors center field, it may once again result in Crawford and Andre Ethier platooning in left field.
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Leaked Houston Astros Trade Talks Reveal Dodgers Shopped Carl Crawford


About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

4 Responses

  1. Steven Denesha

    Yasiel Puig was fantastic in right field but can even be better in centerfield because he will be able to cover more ground. Yasiel will catch a lot of balls that were hit in the gap and weren’t being caught before and you will still see that amazing arm.

    Reply
  2. thomas Rickard

    Has SVS played lf, would hate to see him forgotten, should be in there against lefties

    Reply
  3. Robert Clark

    With that arm of Puig’s, he may be much better in center field. From there he has a good aim at all 3 bases for throwing out runners. He also has the speed and maybe at times the daring to get to the ball. But he must also be aware of the warning track and take heed when necessary.

    Reply

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