Farmer playing way into mix for roster spot

Bellinger OK after fouling ball off leg; Maeda shines in five-plus frames

March 20th, 2018

MESA, Ariz. -- A productive Spring Training, plus one bad break, has put "really in the mix" for an Opening Day roster spot, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday.
Roberts' upbeat assessment came moments after Farmer played third base, caught and went all nine innings in an 8-2 win over the A's. The third-string catcher has an unexpected opportunity created by the broken wrist that will put All-Star third baseman on the disabled list to start the season.
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"He's had a great spring and his ability to conduct an at-bat off the bench, to catch and play third base, obviously there's added value with Justin [out]," Roberts said. "He's comfortable at third base, and I wanted somebody who could catch [Wilmer] Font and [Scott] Alexander."
is expected to move from second base to third, and will share second base and Farmer now has joined contending outfielders and for a spot, if not leapt past them.
Farmer is batting .394 this spring.
Everybody relax; Bellinger is fine
On the heels of Turner's broken wrist, All-Star first baseman escaped injury on Tuesday when he fouled a pitch off his lower leg in the second inning and left the game in the fourth inning.
He was not hurt: The removal was a manager's decision.
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"He's fine," Roberts said. "I held my breath a little bit. It was good to hear it hit plastic [Bellinger's shin guard]. When you see him hobbling, but you see a little smile, it's a little relief. Getting to the end of camp, you want to keep these guys as healthy as possible."
Maeda solid again
Starter allowed one run in five-plus innings without a walk and was pleased with his changeup, which has been a spring project.
"I made adjustments from the second inning and I thought I did well," Maeda said. "The main goal was to go five innings and just being able to get into the sixth was a big thing for me."
"Velocity was good," Roberts said. "He continues to get feel with the split/change. [He threw] close to 75 pitches, so it's good."
Hot bats
The top six batters in the Dodgers' order had at least one RBI or a run scored against the A's, led by 's four RBIs on a pair of doubles, and home runs from Chris Taylor and . Grandal also doubled.
"I think things are starting to align," Roberts said.
Jake impresses
After Monday night's game, the Dodgers optioned pitchers and , and reassigned infielders and .
Although Peter cooled off recently from his torrid start to camp, Roberts said he expects to see Peter in the big leagues this year. Peter was acquired with in the five-play, three-team trade that sent to the White Sox and and to Kansas City.
"We have thought about Jake in a potential role," Roberts said. "We want Jake to go down there and get consistent playing time. But do we see Jake potentially helping us this year at some point? Absolutely."
More cuts
Outfielder was optioned and catcher was reassigned after Tuesday's game. The Dodgers are left to decide whether to keep seven or eight relievers, which will determine if they have a four- or five-man bench. Still contending for bench spots after Verdugo was optioned are , Pederson, Farmer and Thompson.
Map it out
Roberts said he didn't want to map out his starting pitchers, but the way they are lined up, (Major League game) and Rich Hill (Minor League game) will pitch on Thursday, on Friday, Alex Wood on Saturday, Maeda on Sunday, Hill on Monday and Ryu on Tuesday.
Roster battle
Matt Kemp started in left field and went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored; came off the bench and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout; Farmer was 1-for-4 with a run scored and a strikeout; pitched two scoreless innings despite a pair of walks.
Up next
After a scheduled day off on Wednesday, Ryu starts for the Dodgers on Thursday night against the Angels and at Camelback Ranch. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. Hill's Minor League outing will take place earlier in the day.