It’s not as if the Dodgers must call up an outfielder if, as expected, Yasiel Puig goes on the disabled list with an oblique strain suffered Sunday. In addition to Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson, they have three infielders who play outfield in Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez and Cody Bellinger, and relocating Bellinger to center (with Kemp in right) would open up time for Max Muncy to play first base and give him a break from learning second base on the job.
But moving an infielder to the outfield would also force more playing time at second base for the likes of struggling Logan Forsythe (1 for 27 with two walks and 11 strikeouts since June 22) and Chase Utley, whereas you could hardly ask for better outfield candidates for the Dodgers to import from Oklahoma City than Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo.
Toles, whose own 2018 debut was delayed by injury, has a .363 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Verdugo has been even hotter, with an OBP and slugging of .393 and .513, and the only downside to his promotion would be that it would prevent him from appearing in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game.
Puig’s injury comes at a bad time, considering he had homers in consecutive at-bats against the Angels this weekend and that he has a .365 OBP while slugging .576 (.940 OPS) with 11 homers in 52 games since the beginning of May. But this could very much be a moment for Toles or Verdugo to shine.
I suppose it bears mentioning that any portent of an extended absence by Puig could theoretically have an effect on the Manny Machado-to-the-Dodgers rumors that swirled over the weekend, but to whatever extent that’s operating, it’s probably on its own track.