ANAHEIM, Calif -- Before the Los Angeles Dodgers took the field Thursday night, general manager Ned Colletti discussed the value of having depth across the board this time of year.
The Dodgers already have one of the deepest and most talented outfields in the majors, and their starting pitching staff continues to display a seemingly bottomless supply of talented arms. But just in case anyone might forget, Justin Turner and Miguel Rojas sent a reminder that the Dodgers have a nice set of reserves up the middle as well.
Turner stepped in at second base and batted leadoff in place of Dee Gordon in the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels. He reached base three times in the 7-0 victory at Angel Stadium. Rojas gave Hanley Ramirez the night off at shortstop and made a handful of glowing plays, while also contributing a pair of singles in the No. 9 spot in the order.
"It's just two baseball players is what it is," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "Those two guys, even if they haven't been in the lineup or haven't played for a few days, they step right in and don't miss a beat. It's great having those guys up the middle defensively, and, offensively, they had great at-bats all night long."
Rojas hadn't started a game since July 23, instead filling in as a late-inning defensive replacement for the error-prone Ramirez. He made the play of the night to lead off the sixth inning, going deep in the hole to backhand a grounder off the bat of Collin Cowgill and sending a one-hopper to Adrian Gonzalez at first. Cowgill was originally ruled safe after Gonzalez dug out the throw, but the call was reversed on review, a key play that helped preserve the shutout.
"He's a phenomenal defender," Ellis said. "It gives you a lot of confidence when you see a ball hit on the left side and Rojas and [third baseman Juan] Uribe are over there."
Turner singled and drew a pair of walks, the first leading to the first run of the game, and his .313 average remains second on the team to Yasiel Puig. He's proving to be much more valuable than a typical utility player.
"Justin has been really good for us from all different standpoints," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He has played everywhere in the infiel,d and he has swung the bat well."