The Dodgers reassigned infielder Brian Barden, infielder Hector Luna and outfielder Jeremy Moore to minor league camp, reducing the number of players in major-league camp to 48.
Barden’s .478 batting average was the highest of any Dodger with more than three Cactus League at-bats. The 31-year-old from San Diego had nine singles and two doubles among his 11 hits, and was doing it against pitching that was somewhere above Triple-A, but below major-league quality, according to baseball-reference.com’s Opponent Quality Index:
Luna was hitting .313/.313/.389 and Moore .333/.407/.542. Neither player has extensive major-league experience. Barden does — 119 games’ worth — but he wasn’t going to make the team without injuries to several of the infielders on the 40-man roster (Gonzalez, Ellis, Ramirez, Cruz, Gordon, Punto, Uribe, Sellers).
Moore was scratched from the Dodgers’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Yasiel Puig started in his place.
There’s immense potential among this group, but questionable depth beyond the three starters – and an immediate need for depth. Remember when Shane Victorino and Torii Hunter were being mentioned as potential fourth outfielders? It’s because the need existed: Carl Crawford had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist in 2012, Matt Kemp had surgery to repair his left shoulder last October, and Andre Ethier can’t hit left-handed pitching. More on that in a bit.
In lieu of any big-name acquisitions, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker — utility infielders who make occasional cameos in the outfield – might begin the season as the fourth and fifth outfielders. Crawford might well begin the season on the disabled list. With so many question marks, there will be plenty of focus on this group in the spring, beginning with the heart and soul of the Dodger lineup.