Among other things, the Los Angeles Dodgers new front office is fond of versatility and it’s been clear from the team they’ve assembled.
Justin Turner was already on the team, but he can play any of the four infield spots, although he’s become the primary third baseman this year. Alex Guerrero has played third and outfield, Scott Van Slyke has played first and outfield and Kiké Hernandez has played just about everywhere. They also acquired prospect Jose Peraza, who can play up the middle in the infield and in the outfield.
When the Dodgers acquired Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies after Howie Kendrick went on the disabled list, versatility wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. He’s played 1,457 games at second base and just 31 games at first base in his career. However, after the trade, general manager Farhan Zaidi mentioned the fact that they might use Utley at first and even third base once Kendrick returns.
Utley mentioned that he was open to playing other positions and had his first workout at third before Wednesday’s game in Cincinnati.
According to JP Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Utley had a light workout and talked about it after:
It went fine,” Utley affirmed. “That’s my first time taking ground balls over there in probably a few years. It was short and sweet. Just talked with Wallach a little bit about his ideas on playing the position. Made a few throws. We’ll continue to make progress.”
Manager Don Mattingly was watching and added his take on the 36-year-old’s session:
That’s kind of the first day of starting that process,” Mattingly said. “While he’s playing second, you want to be careful of him not doing too much. It’s definitely a different throw. Trying to build him a little bit.”
It was reported that the Phillies tried Utley at third base in the minor leagues, but felt his arm was better suited for second base. The Dodgers would only need one or two starts a week at third base meaning that Utley’s arm strength may not be too much of a roadblock assuming he’s comfortable.