According to a report by Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider, Austin Barnes is a catcher… nothing more:
Other news coming out of Camelback Ranch on Friday is that the plan for the versatile Austin Barnes is for him to stay behind the plate for Spring Training. Barnes is competing for the backup catcher job. In 585 career minor league games, he has caught 336 games, played second base in 165 and third base in 24. He appeared at all three positions with the Dodgers last season.
“Austin’s just going to stay behind the plate and work closely with Yasmani (Grandal), the pitchers and (non-roster invite) Bobby Wilson as well,” said Dave Roberts. “For a young player just to consistently work back there and not having to worry too much about changing his arm stroke and just the consistency for us (and him is more beneficial). It is asking a lot of a player to kind of move around, and we know he can defend if he needs to at second base.”
I think by focusing on catching, he can be a little more relaxed at the plate as well. Since he really is not playing for a spot, I believe you will see him hit like he is capable. Grandal and Barnes will be one of the top catching duo in baseball this year – both offensively and defensively!
Rants & Raves
- The only injury news is Adrian Gonzalez who is on the shelf for at least two weeks. I’m sure they will be aggressively treating his tennis elbow, but ultimately, it just requires rest.
- I like what Roberts is doing with Puig – basically RF is Puig’s to lose. I don’t want to see him pressing – I just want to see Yasiel focused and ready. I am hoping that this is the year he realizes his potential… that’s all a fan can do. I realize that is wishful thinking, but I am see a level of maturity he has not exhibited before, so there is reason to believe. As I have said before, if he reaches his potential – LOOK OUT! He’s capable of hitting 30 HR/100 RBI/.950 OPS – Can you imagine that in the Number 2 spot?
- There seems to be an aura of professionalism and determination surrounding this team – a quiet confidence, if you will. They know that last year’s injury bug will not likely hit again and I feel that 2017 is something special. While I know they would like to have cut payroll (and they ultimately may) this year, they realize that being “stacked” gives them the best opportunity to win in 2017 and then keep rolling into the 2020’s. This team is primed for a long run of winning and it may start with a Wold Championship 29 years after the last one. I have not been this excited about the team since… well – I can’t remember!
- Andre Ethier – What will become of him? There are lots of sub-plots to play out.
In what can only be considered shocking news, Clayton Kershaw will be the OPening Day Starter for the Dodgers… hopefully! Who knew?