Dodgers Spring Training: Miguel Vargas Feeling Comfortable With Position Switch To Left Field

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The Los Angeles Dodgers revamped their roster during the offseason by adding numerous stars both to their lineup and rotation, and also made a major change by making Mookie Betts the full-time second baseman.

Miguel Vargas entered the 2023 season as the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman, but struggled after suffering multiple hand injuries and ultimately ended the year with Triple-A Oklahoma City. This season, Vargas is on the outside looking in for a roster spot and reported to Spring Training as a left fielder.

Vargas spent much of the offseason working with Dodgers coaches to prepare for the move to the outfield, and it’s allowing him to feel more comfortable at his new position.

“I feel a lot better,” Vargas said. “I spent a lot of time this (past) offseason working with Clayton (McCullough) in the outfield. Coming into this spring, it doesn’t feel like a new position.”

When Vargas first reported to camp, he also received some instruction from longtime Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier. “Every time someone like him comes to me and wants to help, it’s a huge thing for me,” Vargas said.

Vargas noted some of the things he’s focused on learning are his positioning in the outfield and making sure to throw to the correct base or hit the cutoff man to stop runners from taking extra bases.

In his first Cactus League game of the year, Vargas was in the lineup and playing left field, where he made a diving catch, which caught the eye of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

“It was great,” Roberts said. “Vargas, obviously it’s early in camp, but what Miguel has done with his work, and to go out there and to make a play like that speaks to all he’s done. It was a tough play. He got a good jump on the baseball and finished the play off, so it was good to see the fruits.”

Roberts, who spent his career as an outfielder, knows some of the challenges of the position that Vargas is now facing, but he’s been pleased with the development of the 24-year-old.

“I think one part of it is just kind of the engagement because you’re a little bit further away obviously from home plate,” Roberts said. “The ball does some different things, like a lot of balls twist to the line and balls getting more air under them. So it’s just different. But he’s worked his tail off with Clayton out there.”

Miguel Vargas feeling better with swing

Vargas also went 2-for-3 in his 2024 Cactus League debut. While it was just one game, he’s showing the potential for a comeback season after struggles for almost all of 2023.

“I feel way better than last year,” Vargas said. “Hopefully it’ll keep going that way.”

Vargas added he did not make any changes to his swing mechanics, but continued to put in work to improve his offensive performance moving forward.

“I just think I’m going to spend a lot more time in the cage,” Vargas said. “In the offseason, working with my brother and dad was a huge thing for me. Having them around helped me a lot. Just get back to that confidence in my swing and be consistent with it.”

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