LOS ANGELES -- Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig, Dodgers offensive keys last year but struggling this year, were dropped in the batting order by manager Dave Roberts, who continues searching for answers to the club's underperformance.Taylor, the leadoff hitter in 35 of 37 games, will bat sixth going forward against
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig, Dodgers offensive keys last year but struggling this year, were dropped in the batting order by manager Dave Roberts, who continues searching for answers to the club's underperformance.
Taylor, the leadoff hitter in 35 of 37 games, will bat sixth going forward against right-handed pitching and Puig, who has hit anywhere from third to seventh, lands in the eighth spot.
Taylor went into Friday night's game with the Reds batting .229 with a .706 OPS after hitting .288 with an .850 OPS last year. Puig, who just returned from the disabled list, is batting .208 with a .520 OPS and no home runs after hitting .263 with an .833 OPS and 28 home runs last year.
Roberts put 39-year-old Chase Utley at leadoff and moved Player Page for Max Muncy ahead of Puig, saying he would likely keep it that way "for the time being against right-handed pitching."
"I just let Chris know my thoughts and it's just to give him a difference perspective, let the game come to him," said Roberts. "His intent hasn't wavered, but I think there's a little bit of adding pressure to yourself to create something when you're at the top of the order. Hitting him in the middle gives him a different look."
Injuries have put added pressure on every Dodger, but maybe none as much as Taylor. After moving last year from shortstop to become a respectable center fielder while breaking out at the plate, the Dodgers brought him back to shortstop last month when Corey Seager was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.
"He's a big part of our offense," Roberts said of Taylor. "Wherever he is in the order, he provides a certain energy when he gets on the bases. When he's in the box, you feel good about it. To get him going is imperative for the club."
Turner, Forsythe could be back next week
In addition to Seager, the Dodgers' lineup has been without fellow infielders Justin Turner and John Forsythe, although both could return from the disabled list next week.
Roberts said Turner will spend two games in a rehab assignment at Rancho Cucamonga this week, then join the Dodgers for the series that opens Tuesday in Miami. Forsythe began his rehab stint at Rancho Cucamonga Friday night.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.