Dodgers infielder Max Muncy prepares for time at second base
As part of their endless quest to mine value out of their roster, members of the Dodgers’ coaching staff led infielder Max Muncy through drills at second base before Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Muncy has been a steady contributor for the Dodgers’ offense this season, starting at first base and third. After Muncy swatted a homer Sunday, manager Dave Roberts mentioned Muncy’s portfolio would expand to include second.
Muncy played second base for triple-A Oklahoma City last season. He appeared at second base in 20 games for Oakland in 2015 and 2016. He considers himself comfortable at the position, even if his employers are still gathering information.
“I just think it’s just responsible for us to vet that option and see him,” Roberts said. “He’s played major league games there. In a double-switch situation, or potentially to start, yeah, I think it makes sense. Not sure if we’re ready to pull the trigger on that, but I think it’s only fair for Max to get those repetitions as well.”
The roster features three other options at second base: Logan Forsythe, Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley. As a unit, heading into Tuesday’s game, the players ranked 20th in on-base-plus-slugging percentage among big league second-base groups.
Like Muncy, Utley bats from the left side of the plate. The Dodgers signed Utley to a two-year contract this past winter, and value his presence inside the clubhouse. But Utley has struggled at the plate and in the field this season. He committed a pair of errors in a loss last week. He entered Tuesday with a .140 batting average and a .389 OPS in May. He has two extra-base hits in 20 games this month.
VALERA UP, STEWART DOWN
For at least one day, the Dodgers played with a five-man bench. The team optioned pitcher Brock Stewart to Oklahoma City and recalled utility man Breyvic Valera before Tuesday’s game. Valera added depth to the bullpen, with Stewart unavailable for the next few days after pitching four innings as a starter on Monday.
The Dodgers are unlikely to stick with a five-man bench for long. Clayton Kershaw will be activated from the disabled list to start on Thursday. Kershaw has been not pitched since May 1 because of biceps tendinitis.
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