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Dee Gordon, Scott Van Slyke among Dodgers working out in center field

October 01, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Shortstop Dee Gordon is one of the players working out in center field for the injury-depleted Dodgers.
Shortstop Dee Gordon is one of the players working out in center field for… (Erik S. Lesser / EPA )

Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke, neither of whom has played a major league game in center field, were among the Dodgers who worked out at the position Tuesday.

With Matt Kemp out for the season and Andre Ethier questionable for the playoffs because of ankle injuries, the Dodgers plan to start Skip Schumaker in center field in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday in Atlanta.

In addition to Schumaker, the Dodgers worked out Gordon, Van Slyke and Jerry Hairston Jr. in center field Tuesday. Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford could play there, but the Dodgers plan to start Puig in right field and Crawford in left.

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The Dodgers have a premium defensive center fielder in their organization in Tony Gwynn Jr., who could serve as a defensive replacement in the playoffs, but Manager Don Mattingly said the team has not discussed whether to call up Gwynn.

Van Slyke last played center field two years ago, for two games at double-A Chattanooga. Gordon, a shortstop, has not played center field in the major or minor leagues, although some talent evaluators believe that will end up as his best position.

The Dodgers are unlikely to say whether Ethier will be on their playoff roster in advance of Thursday's deadline. Mattingly said the team would consider keeping Ethier as a pinch-hitter if he cannot run well enough by Thursday.

Although Ethier played well in center field in place of the injured Kemp, Mattingly said the Dodgers never planned it that way.

"At the beginning of the year, no one ever thought about Andre playing center," Mattingly said. "Schu was the guy we were going to back up with."

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