Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers addressed a significant question mark in their bullpen last week by trading AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox for eight-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel fills the void at closer that was left by Kenley Jansen signing with the Atlanta Braves, but it came at a cost as the Dodgers now have to replace Pollock’s production in left field.
The 34-year-old’s departure seemingly created a path for Gavin Lux to receive regular playing time at the position, but Chris Taylor is expected to get most of the starts in left field to begin the 2022 regular season as he works his way back from offseason elbow surgery.
As a domino effect, Lux will primarily play second base.
“I think they’re interchangeable,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Lux and Taylor. “Obviously C.T. has played a lot more left field and Gavin has played a lot more second base. I think for me, the driver is C.T. coming back from surgery.
“So to not put him in a situation where he’s got to play with arm angles. From the outfield, then to kind of shorten the stroke and throw from different angles. So to make sure he gets a 100% bill of health, and then we’ll kind of move him around more.”
Taylor appeared at six different positions for the Dodgers last season, with most of his opportunities coming in the outfield. The 31-year-old played 89 games in center field and 30 in left field, but also saw plenty of time at second base (46 games).
When Taylor is fully recovered from his elbow procedure, he presumably will shift into his familiar utility role that will allow him to play all over the field.
Roberts expects outfield opportunities for Lux
Although Lux will transition back to the infield for the start of the regular season, Roberts expects him to receive his fair share of opportunities in the outfield as well. “Gavin is a guy we think highly of,” Roberts began.
“So it certainly gives him a little bit more runway, and I believe he’s going to take it and run with it. We’re going to miss AJ, but it just creates more opportunities for Gavin and other guys.”
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