Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed Zach McKinstry was included on the club’s taxi squad for their first road trip of the 2020 season. Rocky Gale is the required third catcher traveling with the team, and Victor Gonzalez rounds out the trio.
MLB is permitting teams to travel with a three-player taxi squad for every road trip this season as insurance should a player get injured, contract the coronavirus (COVID-19) or need to be placed on the injured list for any other reason.
The lone requirement with a taxi squad is one of the three players must be a catcher. Prior to the Dodgers playing their series finale with the San Francisco Giants, Roberts acknowledged the Dodgers were deciding between Gale and prospect Keibert Ruiz, who was a late arrival in Summer Camp.
Roberts additionally said the team was deciding between two relief pitchers to take with them. That left McKinstry as seemingly the only lock, though as of Sunday, Roberts had only referred to that as “most likely.”
McKinstry impressed during Spring Training and Summer Camp, and was someone Roberts previously alluded to being on the cusp of a Major League roster. “Zach has the skillset, the mindset to be a big league ballplayer right now,” Roberts said just days before Opening Day.
“As they say, he’s an injury away. He’s right there.”
Gale appeared in five games for the Dodgers last season and otherwise spent the majority of the year with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to being sent to the Tampa Bay Rays before the July 31 deadline in exchange for cash considerations.
Overall in 51 total Minor League games between the two organizations, Gale hit .273/.310/.352 with two home runs, 18 runs scored and 20 RBI. He re-signed with the Dodgers on Minor League contract during the offseason and was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training.
Gonzalez was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster last October to protect against potentially losing him in the Rule 5 Draft. He’s started and pitched out of the bullpen, though L.A. envisions the southpaw as a member of the rotation.
“But this year, you’ve got to look at it as an outlier. You may see a certain player in a role, but have to look at this year and what can help you this season,” Roberts said. “Victor is built up to three innings, maybe four. It’s an option. Victor, we certainly see as a starter long term.”
Josh Sborz also with team
Hours before Roberts named who was on the taxi squad, the Dodgers placed Alex Wood on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation and recalled Josh Sborz.
Sborz made his MLB debut last season, going 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA in five games.
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