In the rush to get ready for a 60-game sprint with a reduced number of players available, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing their clubhouse attendant, Francisco Herrera, aka “Chico,” in their intrasquad games.
He’s not only playing, but starring.
In a tweet today, the Dodgers highlighted a difficult catch by Herrera off the bat of outfielder Mookie Betts. Herrera, playing left field, tracked down the Betts blast and fired the ball back in, doubling up a baserunner who presumed the line drive rocket was destined for extra bases.
The runner should have known better. On Saturday, Herrera made a similar play, tracking down a ball in deep left and firing the ball to second base, nabbing runner Chris Taylor who tried to tag up and advance from first. The play wasn’t even close, and Taylor was gunned down. .
Herrera has been a Dodgers fixture since 2008, working his way up from part-time clubhouse attendant to the full-time position. He was only playing in the scrimmage because of a player shortage, and hadn’t been in a competitive game in 10 years.
After a rocky start, where he misplayed a ball into a triple, Herrera has settled down and impressed. He hasn’t had an at-bat yet, but his teammates are lobbying for their modern-day Joe Hardy. Infielder Justin Turner wore a t-shirt with #LetChicoHit as part of the effort.
Herrera isn’t quite sure about taking a turn at the plate.
“I haven’t swung a bat in a while,” Chico told the Los Angeles Times. “I’d make myself look like a fool out there.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.