Spring Training Games Begin!

Dodgers at Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix. 12:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA

MLB’s Matthew Ritchie says: Dodgers have several lineup options in Cactus League opener

In terms of who plays where and when against Milwaukee, Gavin Lux will likely be paired up the middle with rookie infielder Miguel Vargas, who hasn’t been swinging due to a hairline fracture on his pinky finger, but he should play about five innings. David Peralta could be in the lineup as well. Aside from knowing that starter Michael Grove will be the starting pitcher on Saturday, there are still questions brewing, especially with lineup construction.

“I’ve thought about it, you know,” said Roberts, when asked about how much time he’s spent on lineup combinations. “It’s just trying to figure out, you know, Mookie [Betts] at the top, is it best? Where to put J.D., where to put Will Smith, where’s Max [Muncy]? I don’t think there’s a right answer. As we have conversations and let things play out, it’ll show itself a little more.”

In another MLB article, Juan Toribio previews spring camp:Three things to look for:

  1. How does the up-the-middle defense hold up?
    The Dodgers will have a new starting shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. Lux moves to short, Vargas will start at second (not till next week when his hairline-fractured finger is fully healed), and center is still uncertain.

  2. Can Syndergaard turn back the clock?
    Can he get his velocity back, and will his command come with it?

  3. Which young pitchers take the next step?
    If there are no injuries the rotation on Opening Day will be Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Syndergaard. After them? Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson. According to observers, Pepiot has impressed early in camp, and Grove will start the Dodgers’ opener on Saturday.

    Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller will also be in the mix. Stone is the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year and is the more polished of the two pitchers. Miller, on the other hand, hits triple digits with ease, and scouts fall in love with his ability to spin the baseball.

    “It’s going to be important,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ young pitchers continuing to develop. “They have to take the next step because we expect more from them this year than we did last year.”

133 thoughts on “Spring Training Games Begin!

  1. In the WBC, the Brits have taken a 1-0 lead over the US thanks to a dinger by Trayce.

  2. Two games today. WOOT!! I would feel better if JDMartinez started to heat up. I am worried about Trayce. Unless he starts mashing lefties, he has no place on the team.

  3. Jack Harris of the LA Times writes about the four young pitchers the Dodgers have coming through the system, Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot. We saw Grove and Pepiot last season; expect to see more of them this year. Stone and Miller may be a little farther back.

  4. Pepiot looked good, Vargas got his first hit, and there was some fine defense – but, on the whole, an uninspiring game.

  5. The Athletic on Gonsolin:

    Initial testing, including an X-ray, has ruled out a fracture. Whether there is further imaging will depend on how Gonsolin’s ankle progresses in the coming days, manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday. There is still some swelling, and each day Gonsolin is removed from being able to throw will push back the timeline for his return.

    “It’s not something we feel really good about right now,” Roberts said.

  6. Kourtney Turner
    Thank you to everyone that reached out about Justin and sent prayers. We’re home now and he’s resting (okay – maybe listening to the replay of the game). 16 stitches and a lot of swelling but we are thanking God for no fractures & clear scans. ❤️

  7. Mookie on playing second:

    Asked whether he was on board with playing second base, including for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, Betts says, “Yeah. Absolutely. I love it. I didn’t ask to go to right field. I was forced out there.

    “People really miss the point, which is like, that’s my whole life. I did not play the outfield. I played two weeks before I did in my [MLB] debut. That’s the only time I played there. So, I think it just kind of gets missed. I still don’t see myself as an outfielder. I see myself as an individual still. I mean, I’m just good. Obviously I work hard. If I’m going to play outfield, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.

    “I’ve been out there for nine years now, so it’s kind of easy to miss. But yeah, all through my life, that’s where I played—infield. The only time I’m going to go to the outfield is when the game starts. But I take ground balls at short every day.”

  8. Just walked in after a 24-hour door-to-door odyssey from Santiago to LAX to SFO to Oakland. Caught the last couple innings.

      • Arrived early at Santiago’s new international terminal, where municipal bureaucracy has kept restaurants from acquiring liquor licenses over the past year, so no pisco sour (everybody in the national terminal has liquor licenses). Plane left Stgo an hour-and-a-half late, then my connecting flight was rescheduled for 2-1/2 hours later and that one left half an hour late. At SFO, my wife drove around the airport four times before figuring out the spot where she could pick me up.

  9. Yahoo Sports, yesterday:

    Two hours and 37 minutes.

    That’s how long the average nine-inning game between MLB teams in spring training has lasted this year with the pitch clock through 94 games. That number includes split-squad games, but does not include games involving non-MLB teams or games called early for rain.

    That pace of play is 29 minutes shorter than last year’s average game time three hours and six minutes, which itself was a five-minute improvement on 2021’s record of three hours and 11 minutes according to data from Baseball Reference. Nearly a half hour of dead time that would usually be spent watching men pace around and stare at each other, per game.

    MLB is gonna start crowing very soon.

    • It is an improvement. I like it. They could cut another 20 to 30 minutes if they took less time between innings and half innings. I could live without all the commercials.

  10. Friedman says not much about the shortstop situation.

    He said more that The Athletic picked up:

    As the season draws closer, Friedman explained, the team would decide whether to pursue free agents or trades.

    “Right now, it’s just about wrapping our arms around the different questions that we want to see (answered) in spring training,” Friedman said. “And starting to compile a list of potentially available players, and compare what we have internally to what we can potentially access externally. And I think even the role is up in the air.”

    • Gameday isn’t working on the MLBTV app. When I click on it, it just goes to the box score.

    • At today’s exchange rate a CL peso is worth $0.0012, so that first dish of chicken chorizo and salad with chimichurri sauce (green, garlicky and vinegarish) is $20.54. Maybe a little pricy but not outlandish.

      Looks like a good meal.

      • At roughly 800 pesos per dollar, Chile is relatively expensive. Argentina is presently very cheap with the informal “blue dollar.” For instance, gasoline is about US$6 per gallon in Chile, US$1.50 in Argentine Patagonia (where there are subsidies).

        For lunch today I had machas a la parmesana (razor clams with melted parmesan) for about US$15, and a pisco sour for US$3. Two small beef empanadas for a free starter.

  11. SI covers the Padres: with the sub-headline:

    “What happens when a historically cash-strapped team starts spending like never before? We’re about to find out.”

    I learned something interesting from the story: Owner Peter Seidler is the grandson of Walter O’Malley and nephew of Peter O’Malley.

  12. After watching the first few games this week, I logged in yesterday and found that MLBTV had excluded me from video access. I had to order a month’s subscription for $9.99 (can be canceled after a week with no charge). This will take me up until T-Mobile repeats its free MLBTV offer just before the regular season starts.

  13. Nobody’s pronouncing Andy Pagés’s surname properly. It”s “Pa-HESS.”

  14. From the LA Times:

    Manager Dave Roberts said shortstop duties will be split between Taylor and Miguel Rojas to begin the season. Rojas will be the primary option, but the Dodgers are planning to rotate Taylor in from the outfield to play shortstop about 20-25% of the time, per Roberts.

    • Couldn’t read the article. Wonder which way the FO goes in roster construction. Go with another infielder or outfielder to replace Lux? Guessing, based on who they have in camp that it’s an outfielder, with CT3 also fulfilling what was going to be his original additional role of spelling Vargas at 2nd base.

    • Had a Venezuelan waiter in a café in Las Condes yesterday. He saw my phone was open to MLBTV app, and he couldn’t stop talking about Rojas.

  15. Ha! ““If we’d had a pitch clock my entire career,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told me Sunday, “I might have learned how to play the violin by now.”

    That’s Rick Reilly speaking approvingly of the rules changes in The Washington Post.

    Another Roberts bon mot: “I think, as a player, I’d have stolen 30 percent more bases with these rules,” Roberts said. “And I think I’d have added another comma to my net worth.”

  16. From Dodgers.mlb.com:

    Roberts said the talk of adding another Major League experienced shortstop might be premature right now, and the Dodgers have the depth in the infield to cover the Lux injury.

    “What we have will be more than sufficient,” Roberts said. “But we’ll always try and get better, whether it’s internal or external. But I don’t know.”

  17. Lux out for the season with a torn ACL. Rats!! Tough break for the young man and the Dodgers.

  18. Uh-oh. Lux injures right leg while running toward third, taken off on stretcher. He stumbled and twisted a knee while dodging the throw from third to second on a DP.

    • No, he slipped running between second and third. It looked like an ankle, but maybe twisted a knee as well.

  19. Who the heck is Hunter Feduccia and how is he hitting three-run HRs for the Dodgers?

    A catcher, slightly higher in svc time than the hyped Cartaya. He’s had
    MiLB Career Stats 941 AB 140 Runs 243 Hits 29 HRs 149 RBI 3 SB .258 BA .355 OBP .771 OPS

    • I was at the game, he had a couple good ABs. Of course, they were against guys wearing high numbers, but they were fluke hits. Drew Avans looked good too. Realistically though, it’s very early.

  20. One more thing Dodgers hitters did this offseason: swung weighted bats.

    there was Betts, joining Max Muncy, J.D. Martinez, Gavin Lux and at least a couple of other teammates who took part in Driveline’s weighted-bat program, developed to increase bat speed and, perhaps, give hitters a fighting chance against their sport’s continually rising velocities.

    The average speed of four-seam fastballs, sinkers and cutters has either remained flat or increased every year since 2008, starting at 91.2 mph and reaching 93 mph in 2022. With it, strikeout rates have skyrocketed and batting average has plummeted. Leaguewide batting average stood at .271 in 1999 and dropped all the way down to .243 in 2022, the lowest since 1968 — the season before MLB lowered the pitcher’s mound — and the fourth lowest since 1900. The strikeout rate was 16.4% in 2005 and went all the way up to 23.2% in 2021, the highest ever in a full season.

    “The problem is there have been so many advancements on the pitching side with velocity, pitch efficiency, all this stuff,” Muncy said. “There’s so many programs they can use. The hitters, we really got nothing.”

  21. Lux played 300 games in the minor leagues before he first came to the Dodgers; all of them were at shortstop. I’m not worried about him playing there. I’m more concerned about Vargas at second base since he’s never played there.

  22. Boca Grande Machado just got his extension. 11 years/$330M. Wonder where they will get the money to extend Soto?

  23. Kenley on the pitch clock and a self-revelation (from The Athletic):

    One afternoon last summer, while preparing for a game with the Atlanta Braves, Kenley Jansen stared at a clubhouse television, riveted but chagrined. An MLB Network graphic displayed the slowest-working pitchers in baseball. Jansen saw his name at the top of the list.

    “I was so embarrassed,” Jansen said. “Like, dude, you’ve got to clean it up.”

    He was also confused.

    “It drives me crazy,” Jansen said. “Because I’m like, when did I get this slow?”


    Jansen has always worked slowly. Even in 2017 — a remarkable season in which he finished with 41 saves, a 1.32 ERA and a preposterous 15.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio — Jansen was the eighth-slowest in the game with the bases empty and 11th slowest with men on base. There were two reasons no one really noticed. Jansen was slow, but his innings were quick: From his debut in 2011 to 2018, he permitted fewer than a baserunner per inning, with a 0.888 WHIP.

    The other reason? He played with Pedro Baez, a middle reliever who often ground games to a halt.

    “I’m trying to understand when I became this slow,” Jansen said. “Because you guys were talking about Petey Baez all the time. And now, I’m the slowest guy.”


    In 2018, Jansen called the potential usage of a pitch clock “ridiculous.” He suggested fining the teams whose games took the longest. That, he felt, would spur organizations to emphasize expeditiousness among its pitchers.

    His stance has softened over the years. He said he was “fine with” the pitch clock.

    “If you ask me honestly, I think it should never be there,” Jansen said. “But it’s a game of adjustments. I’m not going to complain about it. If you ask me personally, ‘if you were commissioner, what would you do?’ I think we’re going a little bit too far from the game. But I get it. Maybe 162 games, you get sick and tired of it, when games are three or four hours — that’s not helping, either.”

  24. I like the pitch clock. Really didn’t like when batters stepped out after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves or call time out whenever they wanted.

  25. Well, this is a nice way to spend a very rainy day. Making red lentil and lemon soup and watching young men play ball.

  26. MLBTV didn’t want to let me watch on my iPad (though it was willing to let me us the phone). I had to delete the app and reinstall to get it to work.