Some players are simply getting in shape with their roster spots all but guaranteed, while some are preparing for a battle for a roster spot. First baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke is in his 10th year in the Dodger organization and has his best chance to make the Opening Day roster.
Speaking to Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider, Van Slyke discussed the upcoming 2014 season:
I think I’ll be more relaxed coming into this year, said the 27-year-old. I think last year I was a little more on edge. (Now) I’ll be able to have a little more fun and be on the field with guys I’m more familiar with.
Last season, the 27-year-old began the year in the minor leagues before being promoted to the big leagues and holding down an outfield position after several outfield injuries. He was optioned and brought up numerous times before ending the season with the Dodgers and making the postseason roster. In 53 games, Van Slyke hit .240 with seven home runs and 19 RBI, and at one point was near the team’s leaders in home runs.
He had more to say about his preparations this off-season via Osborne:
I think like any other baseball player, get better and improve in all areas of the game, Van Slyke said of his goals. That’s what I really concentrated on — doing the things I did well last year and getting better with those.
Van Slyke will be in a battle for a roster spot this spring, although he may have a leg up on the competition because of his success last season. He’ll be going up against Joc Pederson, Mike Baxter, Nick Buss and maybe a few others for the team’s fifth outfielder spot. His ability to play first base and provide a power bat off the bench could push him over the rest of the field, but he’ll need a strong spring to prove it.
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