Injury wave has spared Dodger infield (knock on wood)
By Jon Weisman
In addition to completing their 110th game Sunday, the Dodgers also played their 1,000th inning.
With 49 players appearing in a game this season and 26 spending time on the disabled list, there’s been quite a diverse distribution of those 9,000 defensive frames.
But there has also been an interesting pocket of stability — in the infield.
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal 613, A.J. Ellis 355 2/3, Austin Barnes 31 1/3
If you want the flip side of the Dodgers’ injury woes, take a look at Austin Barnes. The sprightly catcher prospect has been healthy all year for Triple-A Oklahoma City. But that hasn’t gotten him any playing time to speak of with the Dodgers. Since Grandal was activated from the disabled list April 12, Barnes has caught only 3 1/3 innings from the Dodgers, and that was as a third catcher on the roster. No other catcher besides Grandal and A.J. Ellis has started a game for the Dodgers in nearly four months.
First base: Adrián González 897 1/3, Howie Kendrick 47 2/3, Scott Van Slyke 36, Grandal 17, Justin Turner 1, Zach Walters 1
González took a much-publicized hiatus from the starting lineup June 26-27 in Pittsburgh, though even then he still played six innings of defense off the bench. Essentially, González has been out there every day, resting only 10 percent of the time, usually with a tough lefty on the mound.
Second base: Chase Utley 736, Kendrick 179 2/3, Chris Taylor 38 1/3, Kiké Hernández 26, Austin Barnes 17, Micah Johnson 2, Charlie Culberson 1.
Utley and Kendrick have combined for nearly 92 percent of the defensive innings, and again, platoons are more of the reason for the other 8 percent than health.
Shortstop: Corey Seager 919, Culberson 43, Taylor 29, Hernández 9
If it’s a surprise that the 22-year-old Seager leads the Dodgers in defensive innings, playing almost exactly the same at shortstop that Utley and Kendrick have combined for at second base, it’s only because one might have expected the rookie to need a head-clearing rest. The Dodgers’ most precious position player has also been its most durable.
Third base: Turner 860 2/3, Kendrick 91, Taylor 22, Culberson 15, Hernández 9 1/3, Utley 2
Remember when Utley was signed as a combination second baseman/third baseman? That hasn’t materialized, in part because Kendrick’s return positioned him as a stopgap behind Turner, who was recovering from microfracture knee surgery. But Kendrick himself hasn’t seen an inning at third base since June 16. Only González and Seager have more starts this season than Turner, who has only seen his production increase alongside his durability.