For 36-year-old Juan Uribe, Spring Training is more of a time to get into shape rather than try to leave an impression to make the roster.
Uribe enjoyed one of his best hitting seasons last year, but is hitting just .225 thus far in spring. While his defense has continued to be strong, some could be concerned with his struggles at the plate. However, Uribe is still expected to be the team’s Opening Day third baseman.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, manager Don Mattingly is not worried about his veteran infielder:
We feel confident with where he’s at body-wise. We still watch his BP and his processes and all that,” Mattingly said. “Don’t worry about hits in spring training. I’ve seen guys hit .400 all spring and the season starts, it goes to hell. I’ve also seen guys go through spring training, not get a hit and the season starts, they’re off and running. The at-bats look good. It’s not like he’s swinging and missing, not hitting any balls hard at all. I just feel like he’s getting ready.”
Uribe is in the final year of his two-year deal with the Dodgers, and it’s likely his last year with the team and possibly his career. He brings much more than on-field production to the team though, as he is one of the veteran leaders and mentor to a handful of young Latino players.
Due to his age, Uribe will likely get more days off this season, giving Justin Turner plenty of at-bats. If Uribe can continue his strong defense, provide the leadership and hit somewhat near his 2014 totals, then the Dodgers will be fine with Uribe at third base.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Yasmani Grandal