The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled several players once active rosters expanded this month, including polarizing outfielder Yasiel Puig. He rejoined the club earlier than most anticipated, and immediately started.
Though, Puig has since split time in right field with Josh Reddick. The Dodgers’ trade for Reddick prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline seemingly factored into the club’s decision and ability to demote Puig to Triple-A Oklahoma City last month.
While both are starting-caliber outfielders, the right-handed hitting Puig and left-handed hitting Reddick make for a natural platoon. But that’s not what Dodgers manager Dave Roberts necessarily envisions.
“I think in the sense, that yes, Yasiel will play against the left-handed pitchers, but I think there will be some opportunities for Yasiel to get in there against some right-handers too,” Roberts recently said.
Puig has started three games, all against left-handers, since being recalled. Puig has provided a spark in those contests by going a combined 4-for-8 with three walks, two home runs and five RBIs. He was also used as a pinch-hitter in one game.
Reddick started the three games when the Dodgers faced a righty in the time Puig has been up. Reddick entered a fourth game as a pinch-hitter. The depth and ability to play to matchups is a luxury Roberts values.
“Obviously there are a lot of guys on our roster that want to play more and have a viable case,” he said. “But for us as a whole, it’s certainly a high-class problem to have depth that we have and guys playing well and to have options.”
Soon after the Dodgers acquired Reddick from the Oakland Athletics, Roberts said the club did not view the 29-year-old as a platoon player. Of course, that was a time when Puig was not on the active roster.
Reddick has certainly done his part to remain in the lineup, stringing together a six-game hitting streak, with three multi-hit games. He’s 10-for-20 with one double, one home run and three RBIs during over that span.
Roberts intends to continue the Dodgers’ depth and versatility to his advantage over the final month of the regular season. “The way that I have used the roster this year, you saw that [Sunday], guys coming in, in the middle of the game to help us win a baseball game,” he said.
“I still believe that the expectation with all these guys, whether they’re starting or not, can do something to help us win a game that night.”