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In baseball, a fourth outfielder is a backup outfielder, who does not have the hitting skills to regularly play in the corner outfield, but does not have the fielding skills to play center field; for these players, this often leads to playing time that has been called "erratic and unpredictable".[1] Often, fourth outfielders are outfield prospects who have not settled on one outfield position when arriving in the Major Leagues,[2] veteran players seeking additional playing time to extend their careers,[3][4] or part-time position players who double as designated hitters.[1]

A recent example would be Gerardo Parra of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 and 2012.[5] Considered among the best defensive outfielders and a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner in 2011, Parra was employed among all three outfield positions during the 2012 Major League Baseball season.[6][7]

In contrast, the term fifth infielder does not refer to a backup or reserve infielder, but to a defensive shift where a fielder from the outfield is brought into the infield, leaving a team with only two players in the outfield.

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  1. ^ a b Doyle, Al (October 1997). "Fourth Outfielder, Valuable Insurance for Contenders". Baseball Digest. Lakeside. 56 (10): 60–63. ISSN 0005-609X.
  2. ^ D'Angelo, Tom (March 25, 2010). "Marlins outfield injuries mouting: Cody Ross, Brett Carroll out". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Mariners' outfielder doing it his way". Lynnwood Enterprise. March 25, 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  4. ^ McTaggar t, Brian (March 23, 2010). "Sullivan in contention for last outfield spot". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
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