Dodgers Spring Training: Don Mattingly To Shuffle Outfielders
After an offseason roster transformation, the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to begin their Cactus League Schedule Wednesday by playing their Camelback Ranch co-tenants, the Chicago White Sox.
The new-look Dodgers traded away Matt Kemp during December’s Winter Meetings in order to clear an outfield logjam. However, another one still exists with six outfielders looking for roles. According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, manager Don Mattingly addressed how he would rotate among his outfielders throughout the next couple of weeks:
Mattingly said Andre Ethier will play "all over the board" in OF this spring. Yasiel Puig will also get some playing time in CF #Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 3, 2015
With Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig in left and right respectively, Ethier finds himself trying to find a spot in the outfield. When the Dodgers play Wednesday, he will start in center. Ethier discussed his role as Spring Training began and wasn’t sold on center field is the right place for him.
Ethier was the odd man out last season with Crawford, Puig, and Kemp eventually becoming the regular outfield alignment. When he got playing time, it was primarily because of injury or to fill in when someone needed rest. While Ethier was used throughout the outfield, most of his appearances and starts came in center field.
As for Puig, he finished the 2014 season anchoring the defense in center after Kemp was placed in right field. With Kemp now gone, the belief was Puig would return as the team’s main right fielder. Considering Puig will spend some time playing center during the spring, it’s conceivable the same may hold true during the regular season.
Watching how the outfield situation unfolds will be something to keep an eye on as the Dodgers play out their Cactus League schedule.
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