Dodgers News: Matt Beaty Focused On ‘Explosive Movements’ With Training

When Matt Beaty made his MLB debut and emerged as a potent bat off the bench for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts during the 2019 season, he joked his best position was in the left-handed batter’s box.

While Beaty found success as a pinch-hitter, he additionally made starts at first base, third base and both corner outfield spots. Though, Beaty made just one start in right field and played 10 innings at the position for the entire year.

He largely split time evenly at first base (35 games) and left field (34 games) in 2019. Last season he only played third base and left field. But this spring Beaty has received the majority of his opportunities in right field on days Mookie Betts is not in the lineup.

“I played a decent amount of right field in Tulsa, when I was in Double-A in ’17. I played more right field than I did left field that year. It wasn’t a lot, but I think outfield is very similar; the ball just moves different off lefties and righties,” Beaty said of the adjustment.

“In left field you’ve got to know how the ball slices against a lefty, and in right field you’ve got to know how the ball slices or holds up in the wind for a right-handed hitter. They’re both very similar positions. It’s just about knowing the angles and getting good reads.”

To prepare for a return to right field and potentially more opportunities in general, Beaty adjusted his offseason training program. “We worked a lot on explosive movements, getting to top speed a little bit quicker,” he explained.

“I worked hard with Eric Yavarone, our strength coach that was here (in Arizona). We worked hard this offseason of not necessarily trying to add strength, but just trying to add explosive movements, being able to get good reads in the outfield, get that good first step, being able to get out of the box a little bit quicker, get down the line, hit doubles and all that stuff.

“Just trying to be a little bit faster than what I have been in the past.”

With the universal designated hitter not in place for the 2021 season, Beaty anticipates more chances to again serve as a pinch-hitter. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has also acknowledged Beaty could be the primary backup whenever Betts is given a day off.

“I do believe it’s going to be similar to ’19, where I’m going to come and hit for the pitcher. That’s also why some of the stuff I worked on in the offseason was being quicker on defense, good first moves, first steps, just so Doc can trust me out there and put me in left, right, first or third; wherever he needs to sees fit that given night,” Beaty said.

“Just giving him that flexibility to not only put me out to pinch-hit, but you can also double-switch and put me out there on defense.”

Beaty keeping same mentality

Regardless of what role the Dodgers carve out for him, Beaty went into Spring Training this year with the same mindset of still needing to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.

“Going up through the Minor Leagues that’s always the player that I was,” he said. “Just trying to prove myself and it’s no different now that I’ve been in the big leagues for the past couple years on and off.

“I think it’s always just going out there and showing you belong and proving yourself.”

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