In addition to Major League Baseball permitting teams to set a 60-man player pool for the 2020 season, clubs are also going to travel with a taxi squad whenever going on a road trip. The three players will travel with the team from outset, protecting against using commercial means.
The only stipulation MLB set for the taxi squad is one of the three players must be a catcher. With the Dodgers departing Monday for a nine-game road trip, they are in the final stages of deciding which three additional players will accompany the 30-man active roster.
“We know we’re going to have a catcher,” manager Dave Roberts said before the series finale against the San Francisco Giants. “We haven’t completely settled on that. We haven’t settled on the relief pitcher; there’s a couple options we’re kind of contemplating.
“Most likely Zach McKinstry as the position player, with that versatility he has.”
That McKinstry would be earmarked for a spot is hardly a surprise. He impressed during Spring Training and again in Summer Camp. So much so that he garnered some consideration for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
“Zach has the skillset, the mindset to be a big league ballplayer right now,” Roberts said just days before the season opener. “As they say, he’s an injury away. He’s right there.”
For a third catcher, Roberts acknowledged a decision was down to Rocky Gale and Keibert Ruiz. Though, Roberts previously suggested Ruiz — a late arrival in camp — was an unlikely candidate to be part of the taxi squad.
The Dodgers are due to leave for Houston on Monday afternoon. Roberts said the team has chartered four buses to take players and staff from Dodger Stadium, but noted some will head directly to the airport themselves.
McKinstry soaked in experience
While McKinstry’s play was earning him praise and recognition, the former 33rd-rounder was making the most of being with a talented Dodgers roster on a daily basis.
“It’s awesome. I cherish every moment of it, just try to learn from those guys,” he said during Summer Camp. “Corey Seager and Kiké, taking groundballs next to them, and Chris Taylor and all those guys. Playing against Bellinger, Gavin Lux, facing Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood. It’s fun competing against get them and competing with them.
“It’s pretty awesome getting to make plays for those guys. It’s like no other organization. They talk to you, they try to coach you a little bit, tell you where to go during plays. It was really eye-opening to see how they think about the game and go about their business.”
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