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Inbox: Why is Taylor starting in center?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick fields Dodgers fans' questions
MLB.com @kengurnick

With Enrique Hernandez's experience in the outfield, and Chris Taylor's in the infield, why is Taylor continuing to start in center field with Kiké at third base and second base? Not that Taylor isn't holding his own in center, because he surely is.
-- @shayeclubb

There is more playing time available in the current outfield, especially with the absence of the injured Joc Pederson, and Taylor has been a far superior hitter against right-handed pitching than Hernandez. Against righties, Taylor's slash line this year is .280/.374/.477, while Hernandez's is .217/.263/.391. Really no comparison, which is why the Dodgers have gone with Taylor at a skill position despite his lack of experience there, and it's hard to argue with the results so far.

With Enrique Hernandez's experience in the outfield, and Chris Taylor's in the infield, why is Taylor continuing to start in center field with Kiké at third base and second base? Not that Taylor isn't holding his own in center, because he surely is.
-- @shayeclubb

There is more playing time available in the current outfield, especially with the absence of the injured Joc Pederson, and Taylor has been a far superior hitter against right-handed pitching than Hernandez. Against righties, Taylor's slash line this year is .280/.374/.477, while Hernandez's is .217/.263/.391. Really no comparison, which is why the Dodgers have gone with Taylor at a skill position despite his lack of experience there, and it's hard to argue with the results so far.

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Do you think that given the injuries this year, the Dodgers will trade for a front-line starter before the Deadline?
-- Brian Hatter

Depends on the definition of "front-line starter." This front office has acquired starting pitchers Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Bud Norris and Rich Hill during the past two summers. During that time, starting pitchers traded elsewhere included Cole Hamels, David Price, Johnny Cueto and James Shields. Some years, a "front-line starter" isn't even available in-season. Almost always, the cost in prospects is extravagant and potentially damaging to the organization's future. When other clubs are asking for Julio Urias or Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger (or a combination) for that "front-line starter," you can better understand why a club in need backs away.

Why was Mike Freeman in the Dodgers' clubhouse on Monday? Is it common for a player to show up just in case someone needs to go to the DL?
-- @andresmloera 

It's not common, but it is allowed through a change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2012. The primary reason is to have a player on site to replace a player placed on the disabled list, so a club doesn't play short-handed waiting for a replacement to arrive from the Minor Leagues. Freeman was with the Dodgers because of the continued medical issues of right-handed pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez, who has been plagued since the 2011 onset of the immune-arthritic condition Ankylosing Spondylitis, which causes stiff joints and associated debilitating symptoms. Gutierrez sat out the 2014 season to let the medication, which he still takes, heal his body.

When will Willie Calhoun arrive? And where will he play?
-- @nick_nrangel22

Calhoun is a 22-year-old hitting machine who has excelled this season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers expected Logan Forsythe to lock down the second-base job, but injuries and strikeouts have marked his first season in Los Angeles. Calhoun, who committed 21 errors at second base last year, only has three this year. That said, he's a left-handed-hitting second baseman and the Dodgers already have one of those in Chase Utley, who followed a .122 April with a .314 May, although he's back to .158 in June. Because the Dodgers have so many second-base options on the current roster, Calhoun's arrival is most likely in September.

Video: STL@LAD: Puig hangs on during collision with Pederson

How do you see Joc's future playing out if Chris Taylor keeps producing?
-- @MattMuelot

Manager Dave Roberts has been pretty clear that Pederson not only needs to fully recover from the effects of the concussion following his collision with Yasiel Puig and the outfield wall, but his bat needs to recover through a Minor League rehab stint and, although unspoken, possibly a Minor League option. At the time of the injury, Pederson had a disappointing slash line of .200/.309/.314. Roberts played him in 14 games against left-handed pitching and the slash was predictably worse -- .174.208/.174, with no extra-base hits.

Pederson earned a fast track to the big leagues with a 30/30 season in 2014 at Triple-A. He's stolen only 10 bases in two-plus seasons with the Dodgers. Pederson combined to slug 51 homers while playing nearly every day in 2015 and '16. But with only two homers this year, he needs to find those 2015 skills or Taylor figures to keep the job. 

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers