On each of the 20 occasions Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts has elected to start Andrew Toles this season, he has sent the 24-year-old outfielder a night-before text notifying him.
“OK,” Toles writes back each time.
To Roberts, that sense of simplicity is startling. On Tuesday, he likened Toles’ rookie season to a dream, one that began in the Class-A California League and figures to conclude on the Dodgers’ playoff roster, perhaps even in their starting lineup.
“It’s one of those things where I hope he never wakes up,” Roberts said. “I don’t think he’s out-thinking it. He just shows up, and he just does his work. When he’s not in the lineup, he does his work and gets ready for a pinch-hit at-bat later. He’s just a joy, for me, to get to know him better.”
Thursday against Colorado, Roberts batted Toles second. It was the first time he did not occupy the bottom third of the Dodgers’ order.
“I like his ability to run, potentially steal a base,” Roberts said. “You get a guy on base, he might be able to hit a hole. There are a lot of things that I like about him hitting second.”
If Toles is to garner such a start in the postseason, it would likely be in place of both Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier. Roberts is already juggling Puig’s playing time with Josh Reddick, the Aug. 1 acquisition who has regained his standard form in recent weeks.
“Both guys feel like they should be in the lineup every day, and I completely understand that,” Roberts said. “If you look up and down on our roster, a lot of guys can make that case. So it’s a challenge in a sense of juggling the playing time and keeping everyone interested. But it is a luxury that I can match guys up and put them individually in the best chance to have success.”
Clayton Kershaw and his family visited retiring Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully an hour before Thursday’s game. … Roberts said he plans to start left-hander Rich Hill on Sunday, but he sought to make clear those plans could change. Kershaw is in line to start Saturday. … Third baseman Justin Turner was given the day off. He had started 10 consecutive games. … Roberts said he was unwilling to read much into left-hander Alex Wood’s inning of relief in his Wednesday major league return from injury, but he did praise the velocity Wood displayed. He averaged 91.8 mph on the six fastballs he fired, about on par with his previous performance as a starter.