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Dodgers mulling options for DH in Houston

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson, Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal are designated-hitter candidates for the Dodgers when the Fall Classic moves to Houston for Friday's Game 3, manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday.

"I've thought about it, but haven't made a decision yet," Roberts said. "You look at the DH, Joc, Ethier, Grandal are options."

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LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson, Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal are designated-hitter candidates for the Dodgers when the Fall Classic moves to Houston for Friday's Game 3, manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday.

"I've thought about it, but haven't made a decision yet," Roberts said. "You look at the DH, Joc, Ethier, Grandal are options."

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All-Star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World with a sprained lower back, returned to action in Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV with two hits and played the entire game.

Roberts said he is not considering Seager for designated hitter "unless something changes today. I don't see why Corey wouldn't start at short for us."

The Dodgers played 10 Interleague road games with the designated hitter this year and used Justin Turner in the role for five of them, going 4-1. But Roberts said Turner will remain at third base. Others used at DH and the club's record: Chase Utley (2-1), Cody Bellinger (0-1), Seager (1-0).

Workout planned: The Dodgers will fly to Houston on Thursday morning and hold a workout at Minute Maid Park after landing. On the travel day to Chicago for last week's NLCS, there was no workout at Wrigley Field.

"We haven't played there," explained Roberts. "We might have a simulated game, just to get guys in the batter's box, get some pitches. The infield grass plays different, the outfield grass is different. So, getting into the clubhouse, a place they're not familiar with, to have that day so the next day you just show up and you're more familiar, adds a little bit of value."

Roberts joked that center field at Minute Maid Park is a lot easier to play than it was in his day, when "Tal's Hill" turned deep center into an obstacle course that Roberts successfully navigated for a spectacular catch against Lance Bergman.

"That hill was a bear, man," said Roberts. "Bergman got me the night before. I got him the next day. I'm happy they did away with it, though. Your legs give way and you can blow out a knee."

Roberts defends Gonzalez: Roberts downplayed the postseason absence of injured first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who made his first October appearance with the club before Game 2. Gonzalez made a family trip to Italy, prompting a flurry of critical speculation that Roberts said was unfair.

"It's really unfortunate," said Roberts. "It's been 29 years [since the last Dodgers World Series] and people are trying to discredit someone of such high character."

Gonzalez decided to take the family trip when it was determined the herniated disk in his lower back would not allow him to be active for the postseason. He's not on the traveling taxi squad, either, so he's not eligible to be in uniform in the dugout during games.

"For us, we know that he's a part of what we're doing and we know his care for teammates and what the Dodgers mean to him," said Roberts. "I think it's gained too much momentum. I don't think we thought him being with family warranted a story. We know his character. We made a decision as an organization to support him."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson