Injury-ravaged Dodgers could try Kendrick in LF
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts may have to get creative to cobble together an outfield from his injury-ravaged 25-man roster.
After announcing Tuesday morning that outfielder Scott Van Slyke will be placed on the disabled list due to back problems - joining Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford - Roberts said he may try veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick out in left field with so many regulars out of commission.
"(I might) dip into that well," Roberts told reporters ahead of his club's home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kendrick, who missed the first week of the season with a calf problem, will make his 2016 debut at his usual position Tuesday, but could see time in the outfield over the next couple weeks, with Chase Utley taking his spot at second. Since making his MLB debut in 2006, however, Kendrick has logged just 26 games - 179 2/3 innings - in left field, and the 32-year-old hasn't played the position since 2013.
Still, despite Kendrick's lack of experience at the position, Roberts may be more inclined to trot him out there than Trayce Thompson, who has played 50 games at the MLB level. Starting Kendrick in left for the time being would also allow Roberts to platoon Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson in center field, enabling the rookie manager to sit the 23-year-old Pederson against tough left-handed starters.
No matter where he plays, though, Kendrick should add some punch to a Dodgers lineup that managed a 4-3 record through its first seven games without Ethier, Yasmani Grandal, and Alex Guerrero. Last year, the former All-Star hit .295/.336/.409 (107 OPS+) with nine homers and 22 doubles in 117 games with Los Angeles.