By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers lost one more player to the disabled list but gained two back today.
Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal have returned to the active roster for the Dodgers, who placed Scott Van Slyke on the DL with lower back irritation.
Kendrick is starting today at second base, but Dave Roberts added that he could see some time in left field in the short term (given the Dodgers’ quantity of injured outfielders and the strong start by infielder Chase Utley). Kendrick has 26 career MLB games in left, most recently in with the Angels.
“We were talking about when Howie resigned with us, he was open to playing some outfield, so we might be dipping into that well,” Roberts said.
Kendrick is taking the roster spot of Micah Johnson, who was optioned late Monday.
Though Grandal’s first start of the season won’t come until Wednesday, he could see action off the bench today. With three catchers now on the roster, Roberts wouldn’t need to hesitate to use Grandal as a pinch-hitter against Arizona’s bullpen.
“I like him for today’s game against (Brad) Ziegler — he could come off the bench — and also, I like him against (Tyler) Clippard,” Roberts said. “So I think to have that flexibility, that left-handed bat off the bench, that helps in the game.”
Van Slyke hurt himself in Saturday’s game, saying “I felt a jolt in my back when I stood up really quick for a pop fly in the outfield.” The Dodgers expect Van Slyke to be healthy within a week, but didn’t want to play a man down during that time.
“You’ve seen how aggressive we are as far as putting people on the disabled list,” Roberts said. “For me, I’d rather err on that side, especially when we have the depth that we have, instead of playing with 24 or 23 guys for the next two or three days, or whatever it might be. If you’re talking about a bat, or you’re talking about Yasi’s forearm that was bothering him … I just feel that it’s best to take it out of the player’s hands.
“There are certain games throughout the season and the player says, ‘It’s gonna be two days, I’m available, I can still help us.’ Then you kind of defer to them. But I think other times, you’ve got to be aggressive and make that move.”
Roberts was eager to turn his focus to the game at hand today. He said that though he didn’t want to sound jaded about his first home Opening Day as manager, there was only one bit of pomp and circumstance that he was looking forward to.
“When we’re shaking hands after the ninth inning,” Roberts said.