The Dodgers have benched rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, who batted .169 in July and is batting .114 in August. The team had stuck with him for weeks, even as his offensive performance dropped, citing his outstanding defense.
However, according to a variety of statistics available on the Fangraphs website, Pederson's defense ranks below average among major league center fielders.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, declined to discuss the team's internal evaluation processes but said they rank Pederson's defense much more highly.
"There are real limitations to the defensive metrics in the public sphere," Friedman said. "Through watching him on a daily basis and through our information, we're very confident Joc is an above-average defender."
Justin Turner started his fourth consecutive game at third base, a season high. The Dodgers have tried to keep Turner healthy with a liberal amount of days off, but Mattingly said trainers had cleared Turner to play Friday and said it was "up in the air" as to whether he would play Saturday.
"It's that time of year," Mattingly said. "Guys want to play. All clear at this point."
The Dodgers do not have a true backup third baseman, although Alex Guerrero can play there. The Dodgers could try Utley or Enrique Hernandez there, although Utley is the starting second baseman and Hernandez the starting center fielder.
However, although the Dodgers appear likely to call up phenom Corey Seager in September, they might not do so when rosters expand Sept. 1. The Dodgers could keep Seager playing every day while Oklahoma City finishes its season and could call him up sooner if Turner is injured.