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Finding spring training patterns in Dodgers position players

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Some trends from the first 10 games

2021 Spring Training: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Oakland Athletics Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Dodgers are channeling Arsenio Hall this week, since it’s a “night thing” for the next three games, beginning Tuesday night at Goodyear against the Reds.

Jimmy Nelson makes his second start of the spring in what is expected to be just the second nine-inning game this spring for the Dodgers. Also slated to pitch is a mix of some on the 40-man roster — Corey Knebel with a secure bullpen spot, and lefties Alex Vesia and Scott Alexander each vying to be the second southpaw — and intriguing prospects Josiah Gray, Ryan Pepiot, and Landon Knack.

Here’s Tuesday’s Dodgers lineup:

The Dodgers have either 10 or 11 roster locks among position players, so there might only be one spot up for grabs, depending on how many pitchers the team decides to carry on the 26-man roster.

With the caveat that many have secure roster spots and are using spring training only to get ready for the season rather than fighting for a job, there are a few patterns that have emerged:

  • A.J. Pollock is starting in left field for the second straight day, his first back-to-back games this spring.
  • Justin Turner is starting at third base for a second straight day and for the fourth time in the last five days.
  • Mookie Betts and Corey Seager, who started four of the previous five games, are both off on Tuesday.
  • Second baseman Gavin Lux and first baseman Max Muncy have yet to play on back-to-back days. Neither has Edwin Ríos, who played Monday and is not playing Tuesday.
  • Chris Taylor has also played every other day so far, and makes his second start in center field on Tuesday. He has also started at second base and third base this spring.
  • Will Smith catches against the Reds. He and Austin Barnes have alternated starts behind the plate so far this spring.
  • Matt Beaty starts in right field for the fourth time this spring (he has also started once each at first base, in left field, and as designated hitter). He’s played only 10 major league innings and 26 minor league innings in right field, compared to 352⅔ combined innings in left field.
  • DJ Peters is the only position player on the 40-man roster who is making the trip to Goodyear and is not starting. He’s started four games in center field this spring with Cody Bellinger still out. James Outman has started three times in center field, and is the only Dodger to play in eight of nine spring games to date. Outman is on the travel roster Tuesday.
  • Omar Estevez makes his first start of the spring, at shortstop. He played the final four innings in left field on Sunday, having never played a regular season game in the outfield as a professional.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers at Reds

Location: Goodyear Ballpark

Time: 5:05 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA