The Dodgers continue on in Spring Training, now whittling down the roster, with the continued mission to just keep everybody healthy until Opening Day.
Anybody else would’ve just seemed wrong.
The aforementioned roster cuts from MLB camp saw 28 players get the axe. Those optioned were pitchers Alex Vesia, Edwin Uceta, Gerardo Carrillo, and Andre Jackson, catcher Keibert Ruiz, and outfielders Zach Reks and Luke Raley. Those reassigned to the minors were pitchers Josiah Gray, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, Landon Knack, Kendall Williams, Gus Varland, Robinson Ortiz, Nolan Long, and Jose Martinez, infielders Michael Busch, Kody Hoese, Jacob Amaya, Omar Estevez, Miguel Vargas, Devin Mann, and Leonel Valera, outfielders Andy Pages, James Outman, and Ryan Noda, and catcher Hunter Feduccia.
The options are for those on the 40-man roster, while others were reassigned. No surprises there, as for the most part nothing they did in Spring Training would’ve led to them making the roster other than injuries. Vesia had the best chance due to the Dodgers needing one more lefty reliever, though it was still a long shot with Scott Alexander and Garrett Cleavinger (and perhaps David Price) in the mix.
“I would assume that he’ll take down some live hitters at some point in time,” manager Dave Roberts said of Graterol Monday. “But until he checks that box, we won’t see him in a game.” In addition to getting married this offseason, Graterol was sidelined from throwing this offseason. Roberts would not specify what Graterol dealt with, though did say it was nothing orthopedic. “There’s a lot of things that took place this winter for Brusdar that didn’t allow for him to prepare like he normally would have, as far as throwing bullpens to prepare for spring training. The last thing we want to do is speed him up when he’s not ready,” Roberts said. “The main thing is that we just want him to be healthy and progress the right way.”
Kelly is in the same boat, though his is due to soreness, the details of which are vague. He threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday, though there are still hurdles to clear before he pitches in a game. “He’ll go again on Tuesday, and I assume it will be a more extended bullpen with some breaking balls mixed in,” Roberts said. “Hopefully after that, the next progression would be facing hitters.”
As long as there’s nothing seriously wrong with either of them, it could work out okay considering the amount of tough decisions the Dodgers have for the last spots on their roster.
One guy who seems destined to benefit from their injuries is Dennis Santana, who continues to win praise this Spring Training. In the off-season he dedicated himself to getting bigger and stronger. It’s paying off.
As expected, the highlights of prospects have thinned out as the Dodgers have begun to ramp up for the season, but we did get our first look at Gus Varland as a Dodger.
Also, this isn’t new, but a look at why people are in love with Ryan Pepiot.
As we’re looking for improvements to watch for going forward, one particularly interesting wrinkle is Dustin May using his four-seamer more.
Obviously it’s just one outing in Spring Training, the ideal time to just experiment with stuff. But given May’s arm strength, adding a four-seamer that he can use up in the zone to induce more swings and misses (one of his notable struggles last year) would make this something to watch. Ditto goes for the note on his curve, which he oddly seemed to abandon last year but could be a swing and miss pitch, especially if it now has more depth.