LOS ANGELES — Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor could see time in the outfield soon, manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday.
Taylor has played exclusively infield in his major league career, but played some games in the outfield during spring training, trying to increase his versatility and chances of making the opening day roster.
He wasn’t quite ready yet out of spring training, but did play three games in center field with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and took fly balls in left field before Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals. Roberts said Taylor has been getting extra practice recently in all three outfield positions.
“We’re past the point of just an emergency situation. I keep my eye on him out there. He’s working hard out there to get reads,” Roberts said. “He’s getting more comfortable. The training wheels are coming off, so we’ll probably see him out there shortly.”
Taylor is hitting .333/.446/.583 through 29 games, and the Dodgers are trying to find ways to keep his bat in the lineup. At the moment, with Justin Turner on the disabled list, Roberts characterized third base and second base a three-way share between Taylor, Logan Forsythe, and Chase Utley, with Utley only playing second base and Taylor playing second plus the occasional start at third as the Dodgers ease Forsythe back from the disabled list.
On Tuesday, Forsythe starts at third base and Utley starts at second.
There will be more of a playing time crunch once Turner returns, which is why the Dodgers would like to see Taylor mix in some time in the outfield as well.
“He’s earned it. He’s earned every opportunity he’s going to get,” Roberts said. “He’s had consistent at-bat quality.”