Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said he intended to decide on a set lineup as the regular season winds to a close. That would entail finding an answer in left field, where Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson have all logged time.
It’s a position the Dodgers have seemingly juggled players throughout the season. Heading into the year, Ethier was competing for a starting role in left field, Hernandez was more of a backup infielder and center fielder and Pederson was entrenched in center.
Ethier’s herniated disc injury removed him from the lineup, and Andrew Toles suffered a season-ending knee injury in May. Cody Bellinger temporarily filled in but has since become the starting first baseman.
Of late, Granderson has been the primary starter in left. Roberts expressed hope regular playing would help the veteran outfielder break out of a slump.
That hasn’t yet manifested, and neither has a clearer picture at the position, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“No more clarity. Clarity would help. It’s still tough because the challenge is running one particular guy out there vs. trying to share the opportunity. You could argue both sides.”
The more Granderson continues to struggle at the plate, it may create an opportunity for Pederson. Though, he too is going through a skid, which presumably played a role in the Dodgers trading for Granderson last month.
Albeit in a much smaller sample size, Ethier has fared best among the three. Considering he didn’t come off the disabled list until Sept. 1, Roberts said the Dodgers are not convinced Ethier is capable of withstanding an everyday role.
Another option that can be ruled out is Chris Taylor. He spent two months (June-August) primarily playing left field, but Roberts recently said the team views him as a center fielder.