Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Open To Playing Howie Kendrick In Left Field
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the 2016 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers biggest strength was considered to be their versatility and depth throughout the roster. That was particularly true in the outfield, as the Dodgers began Spring Training with three viable left fielders in Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke.

Alex Guerrero and Kiké Hernandez also have experience at the position as well. Fast forward to the Dodgers’ home opener on Tuesday, and all but Hernandez of the aforementioned players are on the disabled list.

Guerrero began the year on the DL due to a left knee injury, and so did Ethier after sustaining a fractured right tibia. Meanwhile, Crawford and Van Slyke were recent additions to the DL, as both are dealing with back trouble.

Los Angeles did see the returns of Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal, with the duo getting reinstated from the DL prior to the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Given some of the depth that’s been washed away, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kendrick is a candidate to play left field, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:

True to Roberts’ word, Kendrick, who started at second base, shifted over to left field in the ninth inning after Chase Utley pinch-hit for Trayce Thompson in the eighth. Thompson began the day in center field and was replaced by Hernandez once Kendrick moved to the outfield.

Entering Tuesday, Kendrick had played 26 career games in left field (179.2 innings), all coming with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; the bulk of which — 23 games — came during the 2011 season. Kendrick then played two games in left field in 2012, and one in 2013, with none of the three coming as a starter.

Part of the reason the Dodgers decided to re-sign the veteran to a two-year contract this past offseason was because of his versatility. At the time, that translated to Kendrick said to play some third base moving forward.

Moving Kendrick to the outfield could have a positive impact on the lineup given Utley’s hot start this season. He’s batting .300/.382/.433 with two doubles, one triple and two RBIs over eight games (seven starts).