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Barnes has '4-3' edge in time share with Martin

Roberts lays out Dodgers' initial plan for catching duo
@SarahWexler32
March 26, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Tuesday provided a rough sketch of the team’s early plans for the catching duo of Austin Barnes and Russell Martin. “Early, call it the first week, first seven days, it’s gonna be four-three, Austin,” said Roberts. “And I think that’s just kind

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Tuesday provided a rough sketch of the team’s early plans for the catching duo of Austin Barnes and Russell Martin.

“Early, call it the first week, first seven days, it’s gonna be four-three, Austin,” said Roberts. “And I think that’s just kind of letting both these guys get their legs under them as the season progresses. I see Austin getting more the lion’s share, but as any season goes on, performance matters.”

Both were in the lineup for the Dodgers’ final exhibition game against the Angels on Tuesday -- Barnes at catcher and Martin as the designated hitter. It’s possible both will appear in games at the same time during the season. Martin, who has played a fair amount of third base in the Majors (320 1/3 career innings), has gone through ground-ball drills this spring, but it’s Barnes who’s more likely to see action in the infield.

“I think there’s more of a chance to see Austin out there [at second base],” said Roberts, “potentially to keep a catcher in the game, if I feel we need to.”

Roberts noted that Martin got some work in at third base for the Blue Jays last year, appearing in 21 games at the position, including 16 starts. Roberts doesn’t expect the Dodgers to use the veteran that way, though.

“With our roster, I don’t see it happening, but there’s things that are unpredictable,” said Roberts. “I do think it’s good for a guy that’s not playing every day to go out there and move around, work on his hands, keep his legs in shape.”

Dodgers seeking length from last ’pen spot

The clock is winding down to Opening Day and with it, the Dodgers’ remaining time to select the final reliever to keep on the 25-man roster.

“I do know that in that spot right there, we need some length,” said Roberts.

That makes right-hander Justin Grimm, who was signed to a Minor League deal on Monday, is unlikely to get the call, as Roberts said previously that the club views Grimm as a “one-inning [or] one-plus guy.”

Brock Stewart and Dennis Santana, right-handers who were developed as starters, have been mentioned by Roberts as possible candidates. Both are on the 40-man roster, though both have been optioned to Triple-A and would need to be recalled.

Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Pedro Báez, Scott Alexander, Caleb Ferguson, Yimi Garcia and Dylan Floro will make up the rest of the Opening Day bullpen.

Up next

The Dodgers open the 2019 season against the D-backs at 1:10 p.m. PT on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will make his first Opening Day start, facing former teammate Zack Greinke.

Sarah Wexler is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.