Short turnaround means lineup changes for LA

Dodgers want to be cautious with Turner's knee

Short turnaround means lineup changes for LA

SAN DIEGO -- Reluctantly, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts must tinker with his lineup for Thursday's series opener with the Giants at AT&T Park.

Because it's San Francisco's home opener, the game is scheduled for a 1:35 p.m. start. A Wednesday night series finale with the Padres means late travel and an early wakeup call, except for starting pitcher Alex Wood, who flew ahead to the Bay Area earlier Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Roberts said all spring he wants to be cautious with third baseman Justin Turner's playing time coming off left knee microfracture surgery. Roberts said he will decide during or after Wednesday night's game if Turner starts on Thursday.

If not, Roberts said Kiké Hernandez or Charlie Culberson will start at third base.

Roberts is committed to giving Carl Crawford a rest, meaning either Scott Van Slyke or Trayce Thompson will get their first start in left field. Roberts already has been using Thompson as a late-inning sub for Crawford, explaining that he wants to keep Crawford's legs fresh. Thompson also is the superior defender.

Perhaps surprisingly, Roberts said he will stick with 37-year-old leadoff hitter Chase Utley at second base on Thursday. More elaborate lineup changes will occur on Saturday, when the Dodgers face left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

During Spring Training, Roberts said infielder Howie Kendrick and catcher Yasmani Grandal will play in a simulated game on Thursday and remain on track to return from the disabled list for Tuesday's home opener.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.