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Don Mattingly Praises Kiké Hernandez, Who Joked Wall Needed MRI



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A major sticking point of Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been his focus on assembling a roster complete with players who fit well together and one that’s flexible — essentially characteristics the 2013 and 2014 rosters didn’t necessarily have, talented as they were.

If there was a poster child for Friedman’s vision, it’s hard to argue against utility man Kiké Hernandez. Along with Andrew Heaney (later flipped for Howie Kendrick) and Austin Barnes, Hernandez was acquired in the December trade with the Miami Marlins.

Hernandez got off to a slow start in Spring Training before finishing strong and finishing tied for the team lead with six home runs. While he scuttled at the plate in the early portion of Cactus League play, Hernandez continued to provide a steady glove at multiple positions.

The 23 year old started in center field for the second time this season with the Dodgers. He made an impressive over-the-shoulder basket catch and had the sense to joke about his collision with the center field fence.

“My face feels fine,” Hernandez said. “We’re waiting on the results of the MRI that they’re running on the wall, so hopefully it’s doing OK.” Hernandez’s catch proved to be the lone highlight on a night where the Dodgers collectively managed to muster just two hits.

After Hernandez hit a leadoff double in the first inning and Jimmy Rollins reached on an error, Colorado Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa retired 18 consecutive batters in row. Hernandez has logged time at second base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions with the Dodgers and the value he brings isn’t lost on manager Don Mattingly.

“Kiké has really showed how versatile he is,” Mattingly said. “He’s been able to play short for us and plays all the outfield spots. He’s a valuable guy.”

As for whether there’s any difficulty in needing to be prepared to play multiple positions, Hernandez is taking necessary measures. “That’s what batting practice is for,” he said. “I try to get a little work here and there just to stay sharp.”

In 16 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City Hernandez played second base, shortstop and center field.

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Written by Staff Writer

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