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Josh Fields could be playing himself off team; Dodgers win, 9-3

March 31, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers infielder Josh Fields is congratulated by pitcher Aaron Harang (44) after scoring against the Chicago White Sox during an exhibition game on Thursday.
Dodgers infielder Josh Fields is congratulated by pitcher Aaron Harang… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

There may have been almost no drama on the field this spring for the Dodgers, but they know how to milk what little they have.

A week ago it appeared Josh Fields had wrapped up the last open spot on the roster. He offered at least some right-handed power for a bench devoid of any. Plus, he could play third should it turn out Juan Uribe really never will hit again.

But right now you have to wonder whether Fields isn’t playing his way back off the team.

Fields went 0 for 2 Saturday in the Dodgers’ 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was hitting .435 on March 18, but has gone two for 22 since.

It was a day when Clayton Kershaw was getting fairly roughed up in his final training game – three runs on six hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings, after giving up only three runs in his previous four appearances.

When you’re the reigning National League Cy Young winner, you can afford an off day. When you spent the previous season in the minors and Japan, and are battling to make the club like Fields, too many off days can be killers.

If Fields does not make the opening-day roster, then the final spot appears a battle between Justin Sellers and Luis Cruz.

Cruz has played small parts of three seasons in the majors, last appearing in seven games for the Brewers in 2010. Last year he split time between Mexico and the minors.

Cruz is hitting .303 this spring, and lately the Dodgers have been giving the infield a look in the outfield.

Sellers got 123 at-bats for the Dodgers last season, and although they were happy with his infield versatility, he hit only .203. This spring Sellers is batting .308 and helped his cause Saturday with a two-run single.

A factor in the final decision could be the health of infielder Adam Kennedy, out with a slight right groin pull. If Kennedy can’t go, the Dodgers could lean toward Sellers or Cruz, who can both play the middle infield.

Saturday against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers also got a two-run homer from Matt Angle and two hits from Dee Gordon, who was one for two in stolen-base attempts.

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Josh Fields could be playing himself off team; Dodgers win, 9-3

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