With MLB implementing a 13-pitcher limit this week and Mookie Betts landing on the 10-day injured list due to a rib fracture, the Los Angeles Dodgers prioritized adding a right-handed hitting outfielder to their roster.
The team ultimately completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers for Trayce Thompson, who had last played in L.A. during the 2017 season. The 31-year-old went 1-for-3 with a two-run double on Wednesday, and hit a home run in the series finale at Great American Ball Park.
Prior to acquiring Thompson, the Dodgers considered some internal options, including calling up top prospect Miguel Vargas. The 22-year-old has torn the cover off the ball for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, but he is primarily a third baseman, with also some experience at first base and minimal time at second base.
In an interesting development, Vargas played his first career game in left field for the OKC Dodgers on Wednesday, recording three putouts and making a running grab in left-center field for the final out of the seventh inning with two runners on base.
Vargas also went 1-for-3 with a walk and now is now 8-for-20 over his last five games with four RBI, five walks and four runs scored.
On the season, Vargas is batting .282/.381/.485 with 12 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 48 RBI and eight stolen bases in 307 plate appearances (66 games).
Vargas learning how to play the outfield could potentially fast-track his path to the Dodgers roster as the club places a high value on versatility. Gavin Lux essentially learned how to play left field on the fly at the end of the 2021 season and wound up having more opportunities down the stretch.
If the Dodgers were to promote Vargas this season, they would first need to add him to their 40-man roster, which would require a corresponding move.
Betances makes OKC Dodgers debut
In addition to Vargas starting in left field on Wednesday, Dellin Betances made his OKC Dodgers debut. The four-time All-Star was signed to a Minor League contract in April and took a hard-luck loss after allowing one unearned run in the sixth inning.
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