Toles reports to spring facility, but return unclear

Dodgers OF placed on restricted list in March for unspecified reason

April 30th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers outfielder , on the restricted list while dealing with personal issues, has reported to the club’s Camelback Ranch-Glendale facility.

Toles never reported to Spring Training and was placed on the restricted list on March 28 to clear a 40-man roster spot. The club hasn't commented on specifics of Toles’ absence and offered no timetable on his return to game action.

But during the offseason, the Dodgers rebuffed trade overtures from several clubs because Toles was considered a factor in the outfield after the trades of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, and before the hot starts of Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo.

Toles, 26, made a surprising impact during his first callup in 2016, after he had been released by Tampa Bay and was out of baseball, briefly working in a supermarket. In '17, his hot start was derailed by a torn knee ligament that required reconstructive surgery.

He spent most of last year at Triple-A, where he hit .306 with an .807 OPS.

Verdugo starts in San Francisco opener

• Speaking of the outfield, Verdugo started Monday night against Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija, his second start in center field in three games.

Manager Dave Roberts, however, rejected the perception that Verdugo has forced his way into a platoon with A.J. Pollock, who is off to a slow start after signing a four-year, $55 million free-agent contract.

“With A.J., I actually see it’s coming around, his at-bats are getting better,” said Roberts. “With Alex, it’s more just finding spots to get him involved. Samardzija throughout his career has been tough against right-handed hitters. It’s a good runway. That’s more what it is.”

Pollock has a .532 OPS against right-handed pitching (.827 vs. LHP), while Verdugo’s OPS vs. righties is .896 (1.455 vs. LHP). Roberts conceded Verdugo has earned more playing time than the club anticipated.

Roberts said the error that Verdugo committed on Sunday while charging Melky Cabrera’s single with the thought of throwing him out at first base -- instead missing the ball and leading to a run -- wasn’t proper game management, but he liked Verdugo’s aggressiveness and said he might have had a play.

“A young player, to think he can make a play like that, says a lot about his confidence playing defense,” said Roberts. “For me, that’s a winning play.”

Worth noting

• The side issue that put Caleb Ferguson on the 10-day injured list is not considered serious, and Roberts said Ferguson will probably resume throwing in the next couple of days.