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Verdugo on track for significant playing time

Dodgers hold first full-squad workouts; Jansen pleased with velocity
February 19, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout on Tuesday, only four days before Spring Training games start."With what we've accomplished the last few years, the core is still intact," said manager Dave Roberts. "So it's more just remaining steadfast and prepared while understanding the ultimate goal and

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout on Tuesday, only four days before Spring Training games start.
"With what we've accomplished the last few years, the core is still intact," said manager Dave Roberts. "So it's more just remaining steadfast and prepared while understanding the ultimate goal and how we get there. The culture, the professionalism is there. As a team, we need to eliminate the noise and focus on getting better each day."
• The indefinite absence of Andrew Toles on a personal matter has not changed president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman's comfort level about his club's roster depth.
Without Toles, top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo's path to a roster spot is cleared and Friedman doesn't sound like a late signing is a priority.
"I think we have so much roster flexibility that one of our infielders can kick out to the outfield if we have an injury," said Friedman. "Obviously, we have one less layer, which is not nothing. But if anything, it makes it less crowded in terms of what we're going to do in Spring Training. An injury or two could change things a little bit."
In the meantime, Verdugo will probably inherit some of Toles' playing time while vying with Joc Pederson as a left-handed hitting left fielder.
"He's earned the right to be on our Major League team and help us win games," said Friedman. "He has a very high floor as a player. He has a very advanced approach at the plate. Tremendous bat-to-ball skills that complements our lineup. Very good defensively. Checks a lot of boxes in what we look for in a player. I expect at the end of the year he'll have logged a significant number of plate appearances."

• Kenley Jansen continued to demonstrate a training regimen in stark contrast to last year's slow start to Spring Training, facing batters on Tuesday, along with Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu among others. Jansen said he was pleased with the life and velocity of his pitches.
"Maybe it was 88 and 89 (mph), but it was February, not April 1 and blowing a save," he joked.
Walker Buehler said he expects to throw his first bullpen session Wednesday, but added, "Nobody freak out" if it doesn't happen. He's a week behind the rest of the starting pitchers by design after last year's spike in innings.
• Roberts was asked to react to the reported signing of former Dodger Manny Machado by the San Diego Padres.
"It's good for Manny, it's good for the Padres," said Roberts. "We're going to see a lot of him this year."

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