Dodgers spring training 2013: Alex Castellanos adds to versatility in center field

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The 26-year-old returns to a position he last played in 2011, when he was in the Cardinals' system.

Vin Scully makes his first broadcast of 2013 on Monday, as the Dodgers will host the Cubs on Prime Ticket at noon PT, live from Camelback Ranch. With several starters not playing on Monday, the lineup is filled with question marks, including Juan Uribe at first base and Alex Castellanos in center field.

Castellanos played center field in the Venezuelan Winter League, a position he hadn't played since he was in the Cardinals organization. Castellanos played 20 games in center field in the minors, including 17 for Double-A Springfield in 2011. Other than that his outfield play has been mostly in right field, with a little time in left.

"I played outfield two years prior to getting here, and I even played a couple of games in center field in Double A with the Cardinals. Just going back out there is fun for me, in center, running down balls," Castellanos said. "You have more ground to cover. You have to cover both gaps, and obviously the ball comes off differently than the sides."

The Dodgers got Castellanos from St. Louis for shortstop Rafael Furcal on July 31, 2011, and used their new acquisition almost exclusively in right field the rest of the season in Double-A Chattanooga. Castellanos began 2012 in Triple-A Albuquerque at second base, then switched to third base in the second half, both positions he played early in his minor league career with the Cardinals. Manager Don Mattingly said that despite his infield work, Castellanos would play mostly outfield during spring training as that would be his mostly likely role on the major league club.

"Alex will get some playing time all over. We're going to see what he looks like in center a little bit," Mattingly said. "He played center in winter ball, and the reports were good."

Castellanos with the Dodgers in 2012 played 11 games in left field and four games in right, starting twice at each position. He started and played four innings in center field on Sunday, and sees his increased versatility as an advantage in trying to make the opening day roster.

"They are just trying to find a spot for me that would work on this team. At first it was second, with Mark Ellis, then the situation at third so they moved me to third base," Castellanos said. "That works for me too, showing everyone I can play multiple positions."

Notes

  • Carl Crawford participated in batting practice against a live pitcher for the first time since his Tommy John surgery last Aug. 23. "That was good. It felt good. It was the first time I really got to swing in a while," he said.

  • Matt Kemp, who like Crawford is recovering from surgery and expected not to play until at least next week, will take part in live BP on Tuesday. "We're getting guys closer to be able to get on the field and play a game," Mattingly said.

  • Also scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers after Billingsley are Chris Capuano, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier, Shawn Tolleson, and Paco Rodriguez.

  • Minor leaguers in uniform Monday for the Dodgers are infielder Rafael Ynoa (No. 83) and pitchers Ryan Acosta (No. 84), Victor Garate (No. .95), and Blake Johnson (No. 82). Ynoa hit .330/.374/.515 in 27 games in the Arizona Fall League.
  • Also scheduled to pitch for Cubs today are Michael Bowden, Jensen Lewis, Barret Loux, Blake Parker, and Robert Whitenack
  • Cubs from the minor league side include Dontrelle Willis (No. 83) and Brian Schlitter (No. 63).
  • Newly converted pitcher Pedro Baez was the latest from the minor league side to head over and throw a bullpen session under the instruction of Sandy Koufax.

    Sandy-koufax-pedro-baez_medium
  • MLB Network is at Camelback Ranch on Monday, filming items for their "30 Clubs in 30 Days" tour

    Don-mattingly-eric-byrnes-mlb-network_medium

Time: 12:05 p.m. PT

TV: Prime Ticket

Radio: KLAC 570 AM

MLB Gameday

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