Chico cannot be stopped, it seems. Francisco Herrera, the Dodgers clubhouse attendant who goes by “Chico,” has filled in at times during summer camp intrasquad games at Dodger Stadium, and keeps racking up the highlights.
Even when he wasn’t supposed to be playing.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said over the weekend that we’ve likely seen the last of Herrera playing in these games, as a few more players reported to camp and others were getting healthier. But Herrera has played in both intrasquad games since.
On Tuesday, he robbed Mookie Betts of an extra-base hit in left field, and started a double play in the process.
Chico, but his hops are grande. pic.twitter.com/dIcgg06Cop— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 15, 2020
Chico’s arm was on display on Saturday too, when he threw out Taylor at second base with a fantastic throw from left field.
That Herrera is playing in these games is a surprise even to him. Jorge Castillo profiled him in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday:
Herrera caught for pitchers during the league’s shutdown but he didn’t expect to play in scrimmages. Turner informed him he was going to suit up for one of the teams during batting practice before the team’s first scrimmage.
Herrera was shocked. Then he got nervous. Then Taylor tested him early in the game with a line drive that he misplayed. The single turned into a triple.
“That was a very embarrassing moment,” Herrera said. “I had to go run to the ball. It was a long run.”
Roberts also playfully chided Herrera for “calling off an MVP” in one of his early games, making a catch in lieu of center fielder Cody Bellinger.
Herrera also showed off his arm before the Taylor play:
Since then, Herrera has made a few highlight-reel plays. But that’s nothing new. He’s been a clubhouse attendant with the Dodgers since 2008, which means Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Pedro Baez are the only players on the team with longer tenure.
Sitting down the left field line in 2020, Herrera made this terrific catch as a ballboy:
Herrera’s highlights have come on the defensive end, because as of Tuesday he hadn’t yet bat in a game. He did pinch run on Tuesday though, with a perfect sequence that encapsulates the wild nature of these intrasquad games, with less of an adherence to the rules. In the fifth inning Tuesday:
- Max Muncy (in his first intrasquad action since getting hit by a pitch in his left ring finger on July 5) singled
- Herrera pinch ran for him
- Muncy batted again in the inning, and doubled home Herrera
- Herrera pinch ran for him again
So Herrera has a run to his exhibition game ledger. But to date, no at-bats. Not for lack of trying.
Herrera was also a guest on ‘Intentional Talk’ on MLB Network earlier Tuesday:
This is the fun story of Dodgers camp so far.