Dodgers News: Keibert Ruiz Optioned To Triple-A Oklahoma City

The Los Angeles Dodgers optioned Keibert Ruiz to Triple-A Oklahoma City without announcing a corresponding move, leaving them at 25 players on the active roster. The Dodgers presumably will add a player before Tuesday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners.

Ruiz was recalled May 4, taking the open spot on the Dodgers’ active roster one day after Mike Kickham was designated for assignment. The switch-hitting catcher had been with the team as part of the taxi squad for the 10-game road trip.

Ruiz only appeared in five games before being sent to Oklahoma City, which didn’t come as much of a surprise considering off days in the schedule and the Dodgers relying on the duo of Austin Barnes and Will Smith behind the plate.

Ruiz went 1-for-6 with a solo home run and four strikeouts. He’s hitless since slugging a homer in his first at-bat.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard, be ready for whatever,” Ruiz said over the weekend. “I know opportunities are going to be there, so when they come I’ve got to do my job.”

Monday’s roster move marks the first time Ruiz has joined the OKC Dodgers this season. He previously was at the organization’s alternate training site if not on the taxi squad. Oklahoma City began their season last Thursday and are 0-4 entering play Monday.

The Dodgers made it a point to include the 22-year-old on their taxi squad in order to provide him with the experience of game planning and being in a Major League clubhouse. Of course, in doing so it prevented Ruiz from being able to log at-bats against live pitching in Arizona.

“I think the net, I don’t think it adds up. But when you’re talking about the potential for injury, something happens with COVID, to have a catcher here, it’s important,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained of the decision.

“I think if you’re just looking on the surface of making you a better ballplayer and taking at-bats, it probably doesn’t add up. But if you kind of bake everything in, it’s something we need to do. And I think we’re doing a good job of still getting him his at-bats and on the road having that experience as a big league ballplayer going on the road.”

Ruiz open to outfield, first base

With Smith and Barnes ahead of him on the depth chart, Ruiz expressed a willingness to play the outfield or first base if it meant increasing the likelihood of getting into the Dodgers’ lineup more regularly.

Roberts effectively ruled out the possibility, but said if there was a change in course, Ruiz would expand to playing first base.

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