Dodgers Mindful Of Getting Keibert Ruiz Experience On Taxi Squad

The Los Angeles Dodgers taxi squad for their 10-game road trip includes top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz, which has been commonplace so far this season and was the case on multiple occasions last year.

Manager Dave Roberts didn’t rule out Ruiz potentially being added to the active roster as a third catcher, but for now the team is focused on the 22-year-old gaining experience being in a Major League clubhouse.

It’s a similar approach the Dodgers took with Will Smith in 2018. “Just kind of seeing the processes, the meetings and how it goes, the rhythm of it, I think certainly gave Will a little better runway and chance to have success early,” Roberts noted.

“We’re expecting the same thing from Keibert.”

Because the Dodgers have two established starting catchers in Austin Barnes and Smith, there is something of a balancing act with Ruiz. Barnes and Smith offer some positional flexibility, but having three catchers on the active roster at present time doesn’t seem conducive to any of them.

Nevertheless, Roberts saying he was looking forward to Ruiz traveling with the team as part of the taxi squad was interpreted by some as a suggestion the young catcher was on the verge of being added to the active roster.

“I don’t see how it was mistaken. I love having Keibert around. I think him traveling with the Major League club is beneficial, I think that he’s taken full advantage of the alt. site at-bats, he’s really performed,” Roberts said.

“When his time comes for activation, short term, long term, we’ll all be excited.”

Ruiz made his MLB debut last season and memorably hit a home run in his first at-bat. He made a second start before being optioned back to the alternate training site.

With the Oklahoma City Dodgers opening their season next week, it’s likely Ruiz will report to Triple-A for the time being.

Ruiz quickly made up for lost time

While the Dodgers opened camp in the middle of February, visa issues prevented Ruiz from reporting to Camelback Ranch until March. The switch-hitter hit the ground running and didn’t show any signs of being a late arrival.

Ruiz wound up appearing in six games, going 5-for-6 with two doubles, five RBI and one walk.

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