10/1/2013 7:42 P.M. ET
Schumaker prepared to man center if Ethier cannot
By Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Skip Schumaker is expected to start in center field for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Braves, 5:30 p.m. PT Thursday on TBS, if Andre Ethier is unavailable due to a lingering ankle injury.
Schumaker started 17 games in center this season, third most on the team behind Ethier (70) and Matt Kemp (68), who has been ruled out for the postseason because of his own ankle injury.
"I haven't been told anything yet," Schumaker said Tuesday after the Dodgers worked out at Dodger Stadium. "I'm going to be ready to play just like everyone else on our squad. If I so happen to be in center field, I will be ready."
Schumaker is no stranger to playing center field in October, which gives him and the Dodgers confidence heading into Game 1 at Turner Field. In addition, the veteran is 4-for-9 (.444) in his career against Atlanta starter Kris Medlen.
"I've started postseason games before, so I don't think that's going to be a problem," said Schumaker, who won the World Series in 2011 with the Cardinals. "I've been fortunate enough to play there in some big games. I've been out there before, which is good experience going into this situation. I feel good enough to be able to contribute."
"We know with Skip out there in center field we have a proven winner," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "He knows what he's doing. He knows what it's like on the big stage. I'm excited for Skip and the opportunity if it's there for him."
Schumaker isn't the Dodgers' only option in center field.
Yasiel Puig primarily played right field during the regular season, but made six starts in center. Rookie Nick Buss made one start in center and traveled with the Dodgers to Atlanta after Tuesday's workout, though he's likely with the team only as an option if Ethier is ruled out for the entire NLDS. Corner outfielder Scott Van Slyke, another rookie, shagged fly balls in center during Tuesday's workout, as did Dee Gordon, a shortstop who has never played the outfield in the Majors.
"We'll continue to get some guys comfortable out there so we have a few more options," manager Don Mattingly said.
Outfielder Alex Castellanos appeared in eight games with the Dodgers this year, but was not with the team for Tuesday's workout.
Punto, Hairston improving as roster decision nears
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers infielder Nick Punto and utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. appeared to be in better health Tuesday during a workout at Dodger Stadium in preparation for Game 1 of the National League Division Series in Atlanta, Thursday at 5:30 p.m. PT on TBS.
Punto, who did not play in the final series of the season because of an in-grown toenail on his right foot, moved well while fielding ground balls and taking batting practice.
"I think he's OK," said manager Don Mattingly. "I assume he's going to be ready."
Hairston has not played since Sept. 25 because of a sore back, but was able to take batting practice and shag fly balls in the outfield.
"We'll see," Mattingly said when asked about Hairston's status for the NLDS. "We're still going over the roster and seeing how everything fits with who we have, don't have, what guys can do, can't do and then trying to put our best club together."
Hairston struggled at the plate in September, going 2-for-29 (.069) with five strikeouts.
"That's part of the equation and our conversations with the roster," Mattingly said. "There's going to be some guys that aren't on the roster that have been a part of what we've done this year."
Hairston gives the Dodgers value in the outfield, though, with Matt Kemp ruled out for October and Andre Ethier uncertain for the NLDS because of a lingering ankle injury.
New father Rodriguez to rejoin Dodgers Wednesday
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez was a no-show at Tuesday's Dodger Stadium workout after becoming a father for the first time.
A club spokesman said Eli Jacob Rodriguez, nine pounds and one ounce, was born Sunday in Arizona. Paco Rodriguez is expected to be in Atlanta for Wednesday's workout.
The team flew to Atlanta immediately after Tuesday's workout and will work out at Turner Field Wednesday.