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Taylor 'going to get more leash' to fix swing

Righty-hitting half of platoon in left field also struggled in spring
@kengurnick
April 24, 2019

CHICAGO -- Chris Taylor was in the Dodgers' starting lineup Tuesday night, Wednesday night and probably will be again on Thursday, as the Cubs lined up three left-handed starters for the series. Manager Dave Roberts said he's not giving up on Taylor, who hit .211 in Spring Training and was

CHICAGO -- Chris Taylor was in the Dodgers' starting lineup Tuesday night, Wednesday night and probably will be again on Thursday, as the Cubs lined up three left-handed starters for the series.

Manager Dave Roberts said he's not giving up on Taylor, who hit .211 in Spring Training and was batting only .161 through Tuesday. The plan entering the season was for Taylor to be the right-handed platoon in left field with Joc Pederson, but their production has been dramatically different.

Pederson has 10 homers and a 1.091 OPS in 75 at-bats. Taylor has one homer and a .504 OPS in 56 at-bats. Roberts was asked if a change in the platoon is possible, perhaps letting Pederson face left-handed pitching?

"Yeah. Can it? Is it possible? Certainly," Roberts said. "This is not, for me, enough runway for Chris for what he's done for us in the past."

Roberts, in fact, threw Alex Verdugo's name into the mix as perhaps a better option than Pederson to face left-handers. Against lefties, Verdugo is 3-for-7 with a homer and four RBIs, Pederson is 1-for-11, and Taylor is 4-for-19.

"It's not nearly enough time for me to even broach that," Roberts said. "Chris has done it for us for two years at this level. For me, he's going to get more leash because I believe in the person."

Taylor had a breakout 2017, hitting .288 with 21 homers and an .850 OPS. Last year he dipped to .254 with 17 homers and a .775 OPS.

"With C.T., he hasn't been synced up in quite some time, going back to Spring Training," Roberts said. "When you get into the season, you still have to give guys that you feel give you the best chance of winning each day. Where he's going, there's a balance of still trying to get him untracked.

"There's a mechanical piece he's kind of been tinkering with. When you're swinging through fastballs in the strike zone, there's something clearly that needs to be cleaned up. Then you start swinging at balls under the zone and he's a little in between for me right now."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.