Dodgers utility man extraordinaire Chris Taylor played six innings in centerfield in Thursday’s loss to the Rangers in Surprise, the second time he’s played a game in the outfield this spring.
Taylor also played left field on Tuesday, after four games at second base. Taylor, whose first three spring games came at designated hitter, is recovering from surgery in November to clear bone chips from his elbow. So far, Taylor has played in the field in a game on consecutive days just once this spring.
Taylor said his elbow only bothers him while throwing, and doesn’t affect him much while batting.
“I was hoping to bounce back 100 percent right away, but I don’t think that’s realistic. This is something that typically takes a little time, and especially with the short spring,” Taylor told Kirsten Watson on SportsNet LA after Thursday’s game. “There’s really no preparing for game action, so I’m just kind of working up. I feel like I’m in a pretty good place, and hopefully by the start of the season I’ll be a full go.”
Bellinger’s work in progress
Cody Bellinger took several at-bats in a minor league game as he tries to work his way out of a spring-long slump. So far in Cactus League play, Bellinger has four hits and a walk in 28 plate appearances, with 17 strikeouts. He had a healthy offseason after myriad injuries in 2021, and has worked with hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc and Brant Brown on finding a comfortable swing.
“The right shoulder is strong again, but also, it’s … just tighter than it was because it used to pop out,” Brown said. “That’s kind of why this process is kind of going through what it is, because he’s just trying to find his body.”
Part of that process this spring saw Bellinger change his swing, something he’s done often in the past.
“The goal,” said Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, “is to kind of get a consistent routine and process and find something that sticks and stick to it and not bounce around.
“(With) some of that, if he wants to experiment, he’s his own person and if he comes up with a thought, he has a right to try that. It’s his swing, his career, and we’ve got to be there to help and support him even if you don’t necessarily think that’s the right thing at that moment. It’s his swing, and he drives that.”
Brusdar Graterol induced a one-pitch fly out Thursday, in the second day of back-to-back appearances, the first Dodgers pitcher to do so this spring. The 23-year-old right-hander has allowed one hit in 14 batters faced this spring.
“I’ve seen a consistency in his work, consistency in his delivery,” manager Dave Roberts told Watson after the game, on SportsNet LA. “Certainly with last year and what he did for us, it’s good to know he’s back, and that’s what my eyes tell me too.”
The Dodgers are off on Friday, though plan to play an intrasquad game before most of the regulars depart to Los Angeles.
Saturday is the Dodgers’ last game in Arizona this spring, against the Giants at Camelback Ranch. Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers.
Roberts didn’t reveal the Freeway Series pitching plans beyond Walker Buehler starting on Sunday, but did tell Watson, “The plan is [Tony] Gonsolin is going to pitch one of those games, and I’m sure Julio [Urías] will find his way in one of those games too.”