Dodgers’ Kyle Farmer is seizing his opportunity at third base

first_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I take pride in that,” he said.Farmer ultimately reached the majors as a catcher, just as the Dodgers envisioned when they converted him in the eighth round of the 2013 draft. But after last season, Farmer knew he needed to improve defensively. He lost a little weight. He took Pilates lessons to improve his flexibility. All of it was geared toward improving his pitch-framing and agility behind the plate.Turns out, it’s helped him at third base too. Could Farmer have made the diving play to retire Longoria on Saturday without all that offseason training?“Probably not,” he guessed.Farmer already had an above-average reaction time and a knack for anticipating pitches from his time as a catcher. He already had the infield footwork of a shortstop. Chris Woodward, who coaches the Dodgers’ infielders, has helped Farmer put it all together at third base.“I think he could be an everyday guy” at third base, Woodward said. “I’m optimistic about guys like him who will their way onto a roster. He just does everything good. Does he do anything great? That remains to be seen.”Woodward said that Farmer compares favorably in that regard to Chris Taylor, whom Woodward coached in Seattle before both men became Dodgers. Taylor didn’t do anything great enough to become a full-time major leaguer until a year ago, when he dramatically altered his swing and learned to play center field. By the end of the year, he was the Dodgers’ everyday leadoff hitter.Farmer and Taylor share a special willingness to be coached, Woodward said. It’s why both men said yes to a new position. In turn, Farmer’s spot on the 25-man roster feels secure – as long as Turner is on the disabled list, and maybe longer.MINOR TRADEThe Dodgers completed a small trade Sunday, getting infielder Breyvic Valera from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor league outfielder Johan Mieses. Valera, who was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, gives the Dodgers 40 players on their 40-man roster.Valera, 26, played 800 games in the Cardinals’ organization over the past eight years. At Triple-A Memphis last season, he posted a .314 batting average, .368 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage. He played in the Venezuelan Winter League after the season and won the league’s MVP award.Mieses, 22, split last season between Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, batting .215 with 24 home runs and 63 RBIs in 118 games.ALSORoberts said that the Dodgers will not skip anyone’s turn in the starting rotation following the team’s first off-day of the season Thursday.Roberts said he’s targeting Wednesday’s game in Phoenix for Yasiel Puig’s first day off.Three of the best athletes at Dodger Stadium watched the game from the stands: soccer player Carlos Vela, basketball player DeMarcus Cousins and Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.Kim threw out the ceremonial first pitch. LOS ANGELES – Kyle Farmer was cheating toward the third-base line in the second inning Saturday. He knew that Kenta Maeda’s second pitch to Evan Longoria was going to be an off-speed pitch, so there was a better than average chance Longoria would get his bat around quickly and pull the ball his way.Sure enough, Longoria shot a baseball 93 mph down the line. Farmer dove to his right, bounced up, and threw Longoria out by a step. From his instincts to his reaction time to his mechanics, Farmer looked like a natural.In fact, Farmer did not play third base before 2015. He’d spent the previous two years as a catcher climbing the lower rungs of the Dodgers’ organization. For four years before that, Farmer was a shortstop at the University of Georgia. There was a time when third base looked like an experiment that might not make it out of Rancho Cucamonga.Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire With third baseman Justin Turner sidelined by a broken bone in his hand, Farmer got his second consecutive start at third base Sunday. He hasn’t started a game at catcher since a Cactus League game on March 3.Farmer’s emergence at the hot corner has created an interesting dynamic in Turner’s absence. Veteran Logan Forsythe figured to get the majority of the starts at third base, but he hasn’t played there since committing three errors in the Dodgers’ loss to the Giants on Friday.It would be premature to declare a change in the Dodgers’ depth chart. Manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that Farmer “will get a couple starts here and there, see what it looks like, see how he responds” at third base.It is not premature to appreciate how quickly Farmer has taken to another new position in a short amount of time.As a college freshman, Farmer broke the Bulldogs’ record for fielding percentage by a shortstop. Two years later, he broke his own record. “Bill Haselman (the Rancho Cucamonga manager) said ‘we’re going to play you at third.’ I said, I love it, let’s do it,” Farmer recalled. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season last_img

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