Every year Spring Training serves as an opportunity for prospects and non-roster invitees to impress the organization’s coaching staff and front office in hopes of making the Opening Day roster.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, they do not have a lot of spots up for grabs due to the excess of talent on their 40-man roster. For those available on the bench, manager Dave Roberts indicated Matt Davidson is under consideration because of his ability to be a two-way player.
Davidson made his debut with the Dodgers in Sunday’s Cactus League opener against the Oakland Athletics and made a great first impression with his new team, slugging a game-winning solo home run in the seventh inning.
“He’s in the mix. Right-handed bat off the bench, he can play third, he can play first, and he’s open to the idea of logging some innings out of the ‘pen,” Roberts said. “He’s got the good arm with an openness and willingness.
“He threw a ‘pen the other day and the ball came out good. He just gives us that versatility.”
Roberts said Davidson was not scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game, but that could change if he’s able to throw more bullpen sessions and live batting practice.
Originally a first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, Davidson has hit .223/.292/.433 with 52 home runs in 293 career Major League games. In 20 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season, he slashed .163/.234/.395 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
The former pitcher decided to try being a two-way player a few years ago, which has made him so appealing to the Dodgers as that takes the versatility they value to another level.
While pitching is still a work in progress, Davidson appeared in six Major League games over the last three seasons, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with three strikeouts and three walks in 6.1 innings.
If Davidson does break camp and is with the Dodgers on Opening Day, he would have to be added to the 40-man roster.
Rios ready for opportunity
One of the players Davidson will be competing with for a roster spot is Edwin Rios, who also plays both corner infield spots.
Rios’ spot is more solidified if he is healthy, and he is looking forward to any opportunity that is given to him this season.
“I’ve never had much doubt. I knew what I was capable of,” Rios said. “What I always tell myself is I can control what I can control. Just keep waiting for the opportunities and take advantage of them when I get them.”
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