Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers asked Gavin Lux to step outside of his comfort zone last season by shifting him into a utility role that included playing the outfield, something he had never done before.
Obviously, there were going to be some miscues when learning to play from an entirely new point of view. The once highly-touted prospect in the Dodgers organization had yet to entrench himself in an everyday position since his MLB debut in 2019 and the arrival of Trea Turner last season further clouded the path for Lux to stick in the infield.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said he envisions Lux being capable of playing all over the field, much like Chris Taylor, who has become one of MLB’s best utilitymen and an All-Star.
In reflecting on the learning curve from last season, Lux said his transition to a utility role is a work in progress but he is more confident, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
“Obviously there’s going to be some bumps out there, still learning how to play the position,” Lux said. “But I think I got some of them out of the way last year,” Lux continued. “Coming into this year, I kind of know what I need to work on out there because I got a bunch of games out there.”
Lux logged 134 innings in the outfield for the Dodgers during the 2021 season, and one scare during a game against San Diego in which he crashed into the center-field wall at full speed, highlighted his struggles.
This past offseason, the Wisconsin native utilized his time during the lockout to work on his ability to play the outfield at a higher level. Although Lux aimed to improve in the outfield, Roberts recently said the majority of his playing time to begin the season is expected to come at second base.
Betts used own experience to help Lux
Outside of a collision with Cody Bellinger that did result in the former National League MVP sustaining a non-displaced fracture in his left ribs, Lux’s transition to the outfield went relatively well. He sought advice from several teammates, including Mookie Betts.
“Obviously the outfield is so much different than the infield, so just trying to help him going through some of the growing pains that all outfielders end up going through once you transition from infield to outfield,” Betts said last year of the advice he’s given Lux.
“Just told him to play aggressive and he can catch the ball too. That was pretty much it. He’s been swinging the bat really well and helping us down at the bottom (of the lineup). He’s been huge for us.”
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