Dodgers move Chris Taylor to infield for a night to get Joc Pederson more at-bats
Chris Taylor was a career infielder until last year, when he staked his claim to the Dodgers’ center-field job. He played so well that the team insisted he would remain in center field, even though the Dodgers have abundant outfield depth and could have moved Taylor to second base when they shifted Logan Forsythe to third base, as a replacement for the injured Justin Turner.
On Saturday, for the first time this season, Taylor played a position besides center field. He was the Dodgers’ second baseman, in what manager Dave Roberts indicated would probably be a one-day arrangement.
Chase Utley, who could have started at second base, is a career .156 (five for 32) hitter against Stephen Strasburg, Saturday’s starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals. Roberts said the move was about trying to get more at-bats for outfielder Joc Pederson, who started consecutive games for the second time this season.
The Dodgers have decided against platooning Pederson with Matt Kemp, who began play Saturday batting .340 in 50 at-bats, with three home runs. Pederson began play batting .176 in 34 at-bats, with no home runs.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do,” Roberts said. “The way that Matt has played early on, he’s earned those opportunities. I still want to be mindful of Joc, staying current and getting those at-bats, because we’re going to need him.”
Pederson rewarded the move with his first homer, a solo shot in the second inning for the only run the Dodgers needed in a 4-0 win.
One day after Roberts told reporters that Turner had started to swing off a tee, Turner said he had not.
Turner cited a “miscommunication” and said the discomfort in his left wrist, broken by a pitch March 19, is not completely gone.
“It’s getting better every day,” he said.
The Dodgers have not announced a timetable for his return, although players rehabilitating a broken wrist typically require six to 10 weeks. The Dodgers would be happy to get him back in mid-May, and Turner would be happy to be done giving interviews about his rehabilitation progress.
“When I hit a ball off a tee, I’ll be the first one to stand in here and let all you guys know,” he told reporters Saturday. “I’ll send a tweet and tag you guys all in it. Maybe you will get some followers.”
Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ top prospect, could make his first major league start Monday.
The Dodgers need a spot starter for Monday’s game against the Miami Marlins. Roberts wouldn’t say who it would be, but Buehler is scheduled to start Sunday for triple-A Oklahoma City. If he is scratched, he’s almost certainly the guy. If not, the Dodgers could call up Brock Stewart or Dennis Santana.
Nod of approval
The Dodgers gave out Cody Bellinger bobblehead dolls Saturday, in commemoration of his award for National League rookie of the year.
“It’s got the trophy and everything,” Turner said, a twinkle in his eye. “Made him look a little better than he does in real life.”
The Dodgers also commissioned a Bellinger bobblehead last summer, and they handed him a box full of them.
“I gave a lot for Christmas,” said Bellinger, who marked the occasion by hitting his third homer of the season in the eighth inning.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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