Dave Roberts

Dodgers Grooming Chris Taylor For Center Field

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chris Taylor played center field for the first time in his career on Saturday, and may see more playing time at the position this season.

The centerfield position is arguably one of the most difficult there is in the game of baseball.

The position requires the player to have some semblance of speed as typically the center fielder covers more ground on the diamond then any other position in the sport.

In addition to the legs, the arm is equally, if not more important, as an everyday center fielder needs to require the arm strength to throw out would-be runners trying to score or advance to third. 

Therefore, it came as quite the surprise to Dodger fans when infielder Chris Taylor was seen in centerfield during the team's first game of the spring on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox.

Taylor was acquired from the Mariners in a midseason trade last season that saw pitcher Zach Lee head to Seattle in exchange for the utility infielder. During his time in the Mariners farm system, Taylor played shortstop, second base, and third base, but had never played centerfield in his career before Saturday.

"The last time I played center field was probably Little League," joked Taylor.

Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Saturday's game that he had talked to Taylor about learning the new position at the beginning of camp, but Taylor told us that the first mention of moving to centerfield was during workouts on Saturday morning. 


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"Doc told me before BP [batting practice] yesterday [Saturday] 'Hey, make sure you get some reads in center,' so I guess that's when he told me," said Taylor. "I was a little surprised when he told me during the game to go out there." 

In order to further learn and develop at the position, Taylor has been working with outfield coordinator George Lombard and sought the advice of Joc Pederson.

Roberts said that the decision to try Taylor at center is in order to help make him more versatile to hopefully make the Dodgers roster. Roberts explained that the team has plenty of depth at the corner outfield positions, as well as multiple players who can play the infield, so they see centerfield as a place Taylor could find time.

Taylor will likely continue to compete with other utility players Kiké Hernandez and Charlie Culberson for a roster spot as well as with Trayce Thompson as a right-handed bat that can also play center field. 

"Being as versatile a player as you can is only going to help you," concluded Taylor. "We have a lot of really good players on this team, so you never know where you're going to end up." 

To listen to the full interview Taylor had with NBC LA, click on the audio player below.

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