Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have become an organization that doesn’t leave any stone unturned during Andrew Friedman’s tenure as baseball operations, their signing of Travis d’Arnaud last weekend nonetheless was a surprise.
The move was not in response to either Austin Barnes or Russell Martin suffering an injury, and d’Arnaud’s arrival gave the Dodgers three catchers on their active roster. However, manager Dave Roberts explained the club intended to move d’Arnaud around — similar to Barnes and Martin.
Roberts added the signing of d’Arnaud provided the Dodgers with another right-handed bat to counter a slew of left-handed starters that were ahead on the schedule. He’s only made one pinch-hit appearance in five games with the team thus far.
Some of that is a byproduct of d’Arnaud working to get acclimated at first base and left field. He’s worked at both positions prior to the Dodgers taking batting practice, and Roberts is pleased with progress thus far, via SportsNet LA:
“The actions, just what I see as a baseball player, I like the actions. Obviously there’s going to be a transition to speed of the game, ball off the bat. At first base, in left field, it’s different than taking controlled ground balls and fly balls. I just think the more repetition we can give him (is good). It’s tough, you’re in a big league game, you get exposed pretty quickly if you’re not prepared. We’re trying to do whatever we can to speed this process up.”
The Dodgers’ plan for d’Arnaud entails the veteran playing a position he’s never manned in his professional career. His only experience not behind the plate is one game (3.1 innings) at second base and one start at third (5.2 innings), both of which came in 2017.
Not that he’s at risk of further injury, but it’s also worth factoring in d’Arnaud is returning from Tommy John surgery that ended his 2018 season after just four games. His overall struggles with the New York Mets prompted the club to release the 30-year-old despite tendering him a contract over the winter.