PHOENIX — Trayce Thompson made his 2017 Cactus League debut on Saturday, going 0-for-3 in the Dodgers’ 8-2 win over the Angels at Camelback Ranch.
Thompson, recovering from two stress fractures in his back, an injury that cut short his 2016 season three months early, started and played six innings in right field. It was his first game since July 10.
He was originally scheduled to play only four innings in the field, but talked his way into getting a third at-bat.
"It was just an honest conversation about how does he feel and would he want one more at-bat,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He couldn't wait to say yes.”
Thompson has been getting at-bats wherever he can this spring, usually in some sort of simulated setting on one of the back fields at Camelback Ranch, letting him progress at a more deliberate pace. When a pitcher needed to throw a few simulated innings, Thompson was usually one of the batters.
"He's been ready,” Roberts said. “It seems like for the last month he's been chomping at the bit.”
Thompson estimated that he has batted every other day on the back fields pretty much since the beginning of camp, including in a minor league intrasquad camp game on Thursday (the minor leaguers start to play other teams beginning on Monday, by the way).
But getting in a real game — well, sort of; it is still spring training after all — was something entirely different for Thompson.
“I’m just happy to be a baseball player again,” Thompson told Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA.
There is still a long time before the season starts, a full 23 days before opening day. Roberts didn’t rule out Thompson being ready to make the Dodgers roster out of camp, even if it means more time on the back fields.
"As we look at the calendar, there is definitely time,” Roberts said. “You can always log at-bats and get your timing on the other side.”
Andrew Toles also made it back to the field on Saturday, after missing a week with what Roberts called “a light knee thing.” Toles was 1-for-2 at the plate and played the final four innings in left field.
Scott Kazmir faced minor league hitters in an abbreviated simulated game on the back fields at Camelback Ranch, six days after leaving a start with hip tightness. "I think he figured some things out toward the end,” Roberts said. “[Rick] Honeycutt was working with his mechanics.”
The Dodgers got home runs from Austin Barnes, Darnell Sweeney and Stetson Allie on Saturday, and Chris Taylor was 2-for-2 with a triple and a double. Willie Calhoun was also 2-for-2, with a double.
The Dodgers play two games on Sunday. Clayton Kershaw starts in Surprise against Kansas City at 1 p.m. PT, and Alex Wood starts at Camelback Ranch against the White Sox at 7 p.m.
The night game will be televised by SportsNet LA, and also be broadcast on 570 AM and 1020 AM.