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Matt Kemp is batting 3rd for the Dodgers

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MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Matt Kemp is batting third for the Dodgers on Thursday night against the Angels, which would have earned long odds and funny looks months or even weeks ago.

Sure, this is just an exhibition game and not necessarily indicative of what the Dodgers’ lineup might look like next Thursday, when the games actually count.

“It is just kind of getting guys in there, getting them at-bats at the top,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I really didn’t as far as lineup construction want to dig too deep on it, think too much in to it.”

But it is awful close. With third baseman Justin Turner out for the start of the season with a broken wrist, the Dodgers lost their normal No. 3 hitter and are forced to scramble and maneuver things around.

Starting lineups

Pos Angels Pos Dodgers
Pos Angels Pos Dodgers
2B Kinsler CF Taylor
CF Trout SS Seager (L)
LF Upton LF Kemp
1B Pujols 1B Bellinger (L)
3B Cozart RF Puig
RF Calhoun (L) 3B Forsythe
SS Simmons DH Pederson (L)
DH Valbuena (L) C Barnes
C Maldonado 2B Hernandez
Time: 7:05 p.m. PT | Camelback Ranch TV: SportsNet LA, Prime Ticket | Radio: AM 570

One thing is certain: Roberts wants Chris Taylor batting leadoff and Corey Seager batting second. After that, it’s kind of a tossup.

With Kemp batting third on Thursday it keeps Cody Bellinger in his normal cleanup spot. It also breaks up Seager and Bellinger, the Dodgers’ two main left-handed batters. Roberts said the other day he might split those two up against certain left-handed pitchers though nothing was set in stone.

“Obviously to have a right-handed bat in between those two makes sense but if there are two guys who I feel comfortable hitting a lefty, even a lefty specialist, it’s those two guys,” Roberts said.

Kemp this spring has batted fourth six times and batted fifth six times. Thursday is his fourth game batting third.

“Obviously Matt’s been a middle of the order guy, three, four, throughout his career,” Roberts said. “But I think on a particular day, given the pitcher, whether he potentially be the third, fourth, fifth, something like that, is a possibility.”


Kenley Jansen won’t pitch in Thursday night’s game as planned. Instead, he recorded four outs in a minor league game earlier in the day.

Rich Hill pitched in a minor league game on Tuesday, rather than Thursday, which makes more sense because it keeps him in line to start Monday in the Freeway Series then be ready to start the fourth game of the regular season.