With spring training games taking place in less than a week and the Los Angeles Dodgers regular season starting in about a month, roster decisions loom for management. Question marks remain in the outfield, but with Matt Kemp still not running, the trio of Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford will start for the foreseeable future.
Next on the decision list is who starts at second base and manager Don Mattingly created waves yesterday upon suggesting a platoon might be used. Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero continues to make steady progress in learning his new position and talked about a possible platoon situation according to the Associated Press via ESPNLA.com:
No problem, Guerrero said through an interpreter. It’s fine as long as I’m continuing to work on making the adjustment.
So far in camp, Guerrero has been applauded for his countless work, showing up early and staying late to take ground balls at second base. Signed to a four-year, $28 million contract in October, the Dodgers knew the 27-year-old had a major league bat, but his ability to transition to a new position would determine if he’d start on day one.
Leg injuries sidelined him during winter ball and didn’t allow him to get the proper work at second base. If a platoon is used, Dee Gordon figures to be the other piece used at second as he transitions from a shortstop into a utility player. Mattingly talked about why he thinks a platoon would be useful:
It gets you a good matchup usually, he said. And it keeps guys fresh.
Other infielders fighting for a spot on the team include Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas. The Dodgers declined the option on last season’s second baseman, Mark Ellis’ contract, something many wish didn’t happen. With a condensed spring training schedule and the regular season slowly creeping up, what the Dodgers do at second base may prove to be their toughest decision heading into the season.
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