Dodgers reserves begin battle for utility position

Dodgers reserves begin battle for utility position

PHOENIX -- When the stars make early exits in Spring Training games, it provides opportunities for roster contenders to bid for jobs.

In Saturday's 5-3 Dodgers win over the White Sox, outfielder Brett Eibner homered, Scott Van Slyke hit an RBI single and Chris Taylor got his first action in center field since he was playing Little League. 

"I think I was 9, I don't remember," Taylor said.

Dodgers management has indicated it wants to carry a right-handed-hitting backup for shortstop Corey Seager. Taylor's ability to also play center field against left-handed pitching would fill another goal. Enrique Hernandez is the incumbent with those tools, but Taylor and Charlie Culberson (who had a single) are also in the mix.

Taylor said he took fly balls last year, and suspected he might be asked to do so again as he prepared for Spring Training. He has taken more fly balls the last few days.

"You feel like you're a mile away from the hitter," Taylor said. "I think I settled down as the game went on. Definitely uncomfortable. I've got to get a feel for the positioning, and the ball right at you is always tough. It's always good to improve your versatility for now and years to come. There's no telling what job you'll have when you're a utility man."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.