Dodgers News: Center Field Battle Getting More Clear, May Be Down to Three Players

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talked about LA’s center-field situation and named Jason Heyward, Trayce Thompson, and James Outman as candidates for playing time.

Coming into spring training, one of the biggest questions for the Dodgers was who would end up playing center field. That’s still a question, but the possible answers seems to be getting fewer and fewer.

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts talked with the media on Wednesday about a variety of topics, and he was asked how he and the coaching staff feel about the center field situation.

“I like it a lot, I do. I think Trayce [Thompson] is long, I think he’s good out there. I think Jason [Heyward] can be more than adequate as far as length, foot speed, getting jumps on the ball, angles. And then I think James [Outman] is a really good defender as well. So center field, then you kind of layer in the corners. I feel good about the outfield defense.”

There were a few notable names Roberts didn’t mention. Both Steven Duggar and Bradley Zimmer signed minor-league deals with Los Angeles this offseason, and both came into camp as longshots to make the roster. Doc’s comments seem to reinforce the long nature of those shots.

Chris Taylor also wasn’t mentioned. Taylor has played center field in the past, although he’s more often been deployed in left. The plan coming into spring was for him to spend a lot of time in the outfield, but Gavin Lux’s season-ending knee injury changes things and he’ll be needed more often in the infield. Taylor will likely still get time in the outfield, but not nearly as much as they’d planned.

It’s a good sign for Outman that he was mentioned here, as he’s a candidate to benefit from the roster opening created by Lux’s injury. With Taylor spending more time in the infield, that opens up a spot in the outfield the rookie outfielder could fill.

We’re less than a week into spring games and more than four weeks from Opening Day, so there’s still plenty of time for things to change. But right now, it looks like center field is a three-horse race.

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