Chris Taylor is back in the Dodgers lineup on Tuesday night after missing a pair of starts with right wrist soreness.
After he was scratched from a start at second base on Sunday, and subsequently held out of a planned Monday start at shortstop, Taylor moves down the line to third base on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, giving Justin Turner a day of rest.
Third base is the sixth different position at which Taylor has started this season, which has been his norm since joining the Dodgers. Most of his time this year has been in center field with Cody Bellinger out, and Taylor will likely see increased time at shortstop, along with Gavin Lux with Corey Seager out with a broken hand.
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“I feel like my role has always been to play all over the field, and that’s part of my value,” Taylor said back in March. “There’s been times where guys have gotten hurt, and then I have to play one position for a month or whatever.”
Taylor’s versatility has helped the Dodgers navigate through various injuries and, along with others like Max Muncy playing multiple positions, allows them to carry Albert Pujols, whose only defensive position in the National League is first base. Wherever Taylor plays, the Dodgers need his bat.
He’s hitting .288/.425/.483, with a 156 wRC+ that ranks second on the team (to Muncy’s 158). After setting a career-high walk rate last year (12.2 percent), Taylor is walking even more often this year (15.8 percent). There’s more to it than this, but Taylor has dramatically cut down chasing pitches outside the strike zone. Since the start of 2020, Taylor has a 21.7-percent O-Swing%, down from 26.6 percent from when he joined the Dodgers through 2019. The MLB-wide O-Swing% is 25.7 percent in 2021, for comparison.
Taylor didn’t play on Sunday, but he did play the ninth inning on Monday at second base, where he turned a double play for the final two outs of the game.
Yoshi Tsutsugo makes his Dodgers debut starting in left field, batting seventh He’s expected to play some third base and first base this season as well. Albert Pujols is back at first base, as Dave Roberts said Monday night, though he’s batting sixth in this one instead of fourth, against Diamondbacks right-hander Corbin Martin, who was recalled by Arizona Tuesday.
Martin came to the D-backs in 2019 from the Astros in the Zack Greinke trade.