Dodgers Not Planning On Playing Keibert Ruiz At Multiple Positions

The Los Angeles Dodgers boasting a plethora of depth at the catcher position has created a bit of a logjam both in the immediate and foreseeable future. Particularly with the organization viewing Austin Barnes, Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith each as starting caliber.

Barnes and Smith have been the catching tandem for two-plus seasons, but they have been joined this year by Ruiz. The Dodgers recently added their top catching prospect to the active roster, though all five of his opportunities thus far were off the bench before getting optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Considering the Dodgers’ value on versatility and Ruiz struggling to find at-bats, he expressed a willingness to move out from behind the plate on occasion. “That’s my thought right now,” Ruiz said over the weekend.

“I played the outfield when I was 14 years old, so why not? I can play anywhere to help the team.”

Ruiz also said he would be open to learning first base as well. “It’s up to the team if I can play another position,” he acknowledged.

Barnes and Smith both have infield experience in their respective professional careers, but the Dodgers don’t intend to act on Ruiz’s eagerness.

“I think more short term, long term, keep him behind the plate,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m not surprised he said he would play anywhere on the field. He’s a baseball player.

“But I think if anywhere else, I could see him potentially at first base. But we haven’t gotten to that point, and we have some other guys that can play first. It doesn’t surprise me with the openness.”

As Ruiz continues to bide his time, the focus remains on taking advantage of any situation the Dodgers ask of him. “I’ve just got to keep working hard, be ready for whatever,” Ruiz said. “I know opportunities are going to be there, so when they come I’ve got to do my job.”

Ruiz learning with Dodgers

The Dodgers have acknowledged there is a balancing act this year of including Ruiz on their taxi squad for road trips with allowing him to play for Triple-A Oklahoma City. That only recently has become somewhat of an issue, as it wasn’t until last Thursday that OKC began their season.

“I’ve been talking to Austin Barnes about game planning, asking some pitchers what they like to throw and how they like to pitch,” Ruiz said of being with the Dodgers. “I think it helped me. Barnes calls really good games, and having the opportunity to talk to him is really good.”

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