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Edwin Rios ready for whatever role is needed from him

Whether he’s coming off the bench or getting the start, he wants to help the team win

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For the first time in his career, Edwin Rios will come into Spring Training knowing he has a guaranteed spot on the active roster. Over the last few years he’s been a name in consideration, but after what he accomplished last season, he’s looking forward to kicking off the 2021 season.

“It’s a better feeling to come in, but a little better on the body and on the mind,” Rios said to reporters on Friday when asked about his mindset coming into camp knowing he has a spot. “Definitely different.”

Rios said he offseason routine was different. Normally he trains with former MLB great Barry Larkin in Florida, but COVID caused Rios to create a new workout plan for the winter. He said he changed things up, adding more stability stuff.

With no DH in the NL in 2021 (most likely), Rios will likely see less at bats. Justin Turner will likely see a bulk of time at third base, so Rios won’t have a spot in the every day lineup.

“It’s one of those things where I try to not and think about it too much,” he said. “Just keep my mind on the ultimate goal and get to the World Series again and win it.”

Speaking of Turner, it was looking like Rios would become the Dodgers’ starting third baseman had LA failed to re-sign him. With Turner back, Rios loses that potential starting job and goes back to being a role player. That’s fine with him.

“I try not to look at the media too much and see what’s going on,” he said. “I had family and friends bringing it up. I knew Turner was coming back. I’m excited for every opportunity I’m going to get.”

The opportunities will come, as Rios will be seeing time at first base and third base this season. Injuries happen and guys need rest, so Rios knows he can be needed at any moment.

“I kept the mobility and conditioning I had last year,” Rios said. “I was able to put on good weight and gain muscle and keep the body fat down. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my career.”

News and notes

  • Max Muncy was taking groundballs at shortstop, but it was just to help him work on arm strength and helping his legs move around
  • Clayton Kershaw will throw to hitters in the coming days
  • Joe Kelly felt under the weather last night, expected to resume throwing on Saturday
  • Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor are going to be seeing bulk of time at second base
  • Dave Roberts added he wants to find ways to get Taylor in the lineup on a consistent basis