The outfield situation has been one big shuffle this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers with one constant being Yasiel Puig in right field.
Manager Don Mattingly has consistently shot down any ideas of Puig playing center field despite the lack of strong defense at the position. Matt Kemp began the year in center and was moved to left field following struggles on defense. Currently, the Dodgers are using a platoon of Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke as the captain of the outfield, even though both are below-average with the glove.
Kemp was moved to right field for Monday’s game and his play made a big enough impression to consider a change in the outfield according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Mattingly said Kemp looked so comfortable in RF that he's thinking about Puig in CF.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 22, 2014
In terms of speed and arm, Puig is the team’s strongest outfielder and could prove to be a difference maker in center. His downside comes in the thought that he would be too reckless in the spot, either misplaying balls because of his eagerness or injuring himself by doing too much. The Cuban outfielder played in 10 games in center field last season, starting in six of those games.
Kemp has vowed to return to center field in the future, but it appears as if that time won’t be coming this season. The move to right field marked the first time in the position since 2009 and Kemp made all the basic plays, displaying his arm strength on one throw that was just late at home. It would appear that Kemp would remain in right with Puig in center and a revolving door of Ethier, Van Slyke and Carl Crawford in left.
As with most comments this season, Mattingly could decide to change his mind at any moment.
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