In the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, manager Don Mattingly prioritized defense in the infield, starting Miguel Rojas at shortstop and Hanley Ramirez at designated hitter.
Ramirez has struggled on defense all season and is often replaced by Rojas late in games recently. One of the luxuries of playing in an American League park is the fact that manager Don Mattingly can keep Ramirez’s bat in the lineup, while also putting Rojas’ glove on the field. In Thursday’s victory, Rojas dazzled on a few plays at shortstop and Ramirez delivered a two-run single early in the game to give the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish.
According to Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu praised his young shortstop:
Obviously, some fantastic defensive plays came out today,” Ryu said. “I am very thankful for Rojas and thankful I could finish seven innings.”
Rojas showed excellent range, a strong arm and a knack for making the difficult plays look routine. He has shown that throughout the season; however, Thursday night showcased his talents a bit more. The 25-year-old also helped out at the plate, adding an RBI single in the later innings to push the lead to seven.
The emergence of Rojas at short made utility man Chone Figgins expendable, causing him to be designated for assignment following a long rehab in Triple-A. Rojas began the year in Triple-A and was called up following injuries to the big league club. He has shown enough with his defense to merit an extended stay with the team.
Much of this was expected from Rojas after Mattingly compared his defense to that of Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel in the spring. Rojas has even held his own with the bat with a home run and seven runs driven in.
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