Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers began their slate of three exhibition games Sunday night, but it was a bit of an early affair for Austin Barnes, who was removed after the fourth inning. He was replaced at catcher by Rocky Gale.
Barnes’ exit came minutes after he was hit by a pitch in his left hand/wrist area. He flexed the hand and looked to shake off some of the pain as he walked to first base. Barnes initially remained in the game and didn’t appear too concerned with his hand.
The Dodgers had not provided an update on his status at the time of publishing. An injury would be particularly disappointing for Barnes, who is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season.
“A lot of the defensive side of catching takes a big toll but you want to be a well-rounded player,” he said during Summer Camp. “I feel good offensively. It’s nice to have these at-bats and scrimmages, even if it’s kind of weird facing your teammates.
“Especially when you’ve caught these guys so much, it’s a little different perspective in the box. But I feel good with my swing. Just trying to get back to feeling good at the plate by controlling the ABs.
“I used to do a pretty good job of controlling the zone — which was one of my big strengths — and kind of dictating where that AB went. It was either going deep into counts, feeling like I could hit the ball hard whenever. My swing is feeling good. Just trying to get back to that.”
Barnes went 0-for-1 prior to being replaced by Gale at the start of the fifth inning.
Dodgers’ plans at catcher
Will Smith is expected to be the primary starter behind the plate, but manager Dave Roberts has indicated Barnes will get a healthy share of starts as well.
If Barnes is injured for an period of time, it would create a domino effect that involves the Dodgers’ taxi squad. MLB is permitting teams to travel with three players as part of a taxi squad, so long as one is a third catcher for the active roster.
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