Trio of infielders vying for final roster spot

Trio of infielders vying for final roster spot

Trio of infielders vying for final roster spot
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The last position spot on the Dodgers roster has come down to infielders Justin Sellers, Josh Fields and Luis Cruz. After hot starts for each, if you pick by what they've done lately offensively, "other" would win the election.

Sellers is in a 2-for-14 spell, his average dropping from .385 to .300. Fields is 1-for-16 lately (with seven strikeouts), his average falling from .379 to .261. Cruz is 3-for-15 in recent games, dropping his average from .350 to .286.

Fields, who slugged 23 home runs for the White Sox in his rookie season of 2007, seems best suited to give manager Don Mattingly the right-handed power bat he thought he had in Jerry Sands, who played himself back to Triple-A. Mattingly would use Fields at first base against left-handed starters instead of James Loney.

"Lately, he's not hitting solid drives to right-center," Mattingly said of Fields. "The other day he hit one to right-center and the guy made a good play. It's not about going deep, but you want to see solid at-bats, put the ball in play. Hit the ball with authority on a consistent basis."

Sellers doesn't provide an alternative to Loney against lefties, but he would provide the Dodgers with a true shortstop to back up Dee Gordon. Otherwise, it's either Juan Uribe or Jerry Hairston.

Cruz is a compromise who can play the infield and has seen action lately in left field, but that makes him a less accomplished version of Hairston, who can play infield and outfield. Cruz actually has the highest slugging percentage of the three, .457 to Sellers' .450 and Fields' .348.