Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Doesn’t Envision ‘Straight Platoon’ In Center Field

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Doesn’t Envision ‘Straight Platoon’ In Center Field

SHARE
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

In their first season with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman leading a progressive-thinking front office, the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on a platoon of some sort at several positions.

Those who remained largely exempt from it, when healthy, were Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Yasiel Puig and Jimmy Rollins. Justin Turner wasn’t part of a platoon per se, though he did share time with a multitude of others at third base.

Where the Dodgers were aggressive in alternating players was the outfield, particularly in center field. As Joc Pederson began to slump, it resulted in more playing time for Kiké Hernandez. The utility man took over in center on a full-time basis down the stretch of the season.

While Los Angeles will again exploit matchups this season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts doesn’t necessarily intend to go platoon heavy in center field. “It’s not going to be a straight platoon. But, when there’s a left-hander throwing then Kiké will be in the lineup,” Roberts said recently.

“Whether it’s in center field, shortstop or second base. I do like Joc’s defense in center field, and if it’s a matchup I don’t love, then I just won’t have him at the top of the lineup. His value in center field is an advantage.”

With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sending left-hander Andrew Heaney to the mound on Thursday night in the Freeway Series opener, Hernandez started in center field and hit leadoff. He was then at second base on Friday and atop the order once more.

Pederson returned to the lineup Friday, despite the Angels starting another lefty, hitting seventh. Last season, Pederson batted .216/.295/.397 with three doubles, six home runs, 14 RBIs 13 walks and 48 strikeouts in 129 plate appearances over 75 games against same-side pitching.

Hernandez batted .423/.471/.744 with nine doubles, two triples, four home runs, 16 RBIs, seven walks and 17 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers in 2015. Roberts declared Pederson the starting center field on Opening Day, when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres and right-hander Tyson Ross.