Charlie Culberson spent the 2016 season alternating between the majors and Triple-A Oklahoma City, occupying a depth role behind Corey Seager at shortstop while occasionally starting at second base against left-handed starters. His .313/.327/.417 line against southpaws was acceptable, but didn't do much to help a lineup that was last in the majors in OPS against left-handers. It did come in handy at least once though, when he hit a walk-off homer against Rockies lefty Boone Logan during the Dodgers' last home game of the season, ending Vin Scully's career at Chavez Ravine on an ideal note. Emotions notwithstanding, it's unlikely Culberson will see regular playing time in the 2017 season considering his .474 OPS against righties and Seager's presence at shortstop, not to mention the fact that he's no longer on the 40-man roster after being outrighted in December.
Dodgers' general manager Farhan Zaidi said that Culberson will compete for an infield utility role this spring, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Culberson was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City this past offseason after slashing .299/.309/.388 in 68 major league plate appearances. He will compete with Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor for the utility role because all three have experience at short. With Culberson no longer on the 40-man roster, he has to be considered the underdog in the race because the Dodgers would have to make a corresponding move to place him back.
Culberson was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports. This removes Culberson from the 40-man roster. Culberson batted .299 in 34 games with the Dodgers in 2016 while seeing time at shortstop, second base, third base and left field. However, his overall body of work at the major league level leaves a lot to be desired (.599 OPS) and it seems the Dodgers are content with their other in-house utility options.
Culberson was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City and is in the lineup Tuesday against the Giants, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. With lefty Madison Bumgarner due up for San Francisco, Culberson will step in right away for his ninth start with the big club this season, pushing Chase Utley to the bench. Culberson's second stint with the big club may only last days -- the team may need to add a starter for Thursday with Brett Anderson (blister) unlikely to be cleared -- but Culberson should settle in with the Dodgers for good once rosters expand.
Culberson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. It was one-and-done for the infielder, as Culberson got the starting nod Wednesday at shortstop in favor of Corey Seager (flu), and went 1-for-3 at the plate. On the day immediately after his call-up, he was sent right back down. The team is expecting Seager back soon, but in the meantime, they seem content to use Chris Taylor to pick up any reps their starter leaves behind.
Culberson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Culberson hasn't been horrible off the Dodgers' bench, going 7-for-27 in very limited playing time, but he'll head down to the minors in order to make room on the roster for Mike Bolsinger, who was activated from the disabled list Wednesday. Culberson will continue to develop in the minors, but he could be back soon if an injury strikes one of the Dodgers' regulars.