Dodgers’ season-opening roster starting to come into focus

first_img Dodgers reliever Scott Alexander gained strength from diabetes diagnosis Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error That leaves Kyle Farmer and Trayce Thompson as the options to fill the final roster spot. Like Font, Thompson is out of options. The Dodgers would ideally like to find a trade partner for Thompson.KERSHAW READYClayton Kershaw finished a scoreless spring with 6-2/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals on Friday afternoon. He didn’t allow a run in 21-1/3 innings this spring – the fewest innings he has thrown in the Cactus League since 2014 when the Dodgers opened the season early in Australia.This was a compressed spring as well with a shortened scheduled to accommodate an early Opening Day (March 29) across baseball. It followed a compressed offseason for the Dodgers, who played into November last fall.“We’ve obviously pitched in the playoffs before,” Kershaw said. “But finishing on Nov. 1, you never know how those extra couple weeks will affect you. But I feel good, excited to get going, ready to feel a little more adrenaline.”Kershaw’s past two seasons have been marred by extended stays on the DL with back problems. He has adjusted his workout regimen in the wake of those injuries – a mild disc herniation in 2016 and a back strain in 2017 – and shows no signs of any limitations on the field.“For me, it was never about conditioning. It was never about anything like that,” he said. “It was just about trying to stay healthy. Everything I’ve done has been geared towards keeping my back healthy and right now I feel great about that.”FREEWAY SERIESSeveral Dodgers broke camp early and headed to Southern California on Friday afternoon. They will have Saturday off before the Freeway Series starts Sunday in Anaheim.Related Articles Matt Kemp is back in his old home — middle of Dodgers’ lineup Clayton Kershaw completes scoreless spring in Dodgers’ 10-0 win over Royals center_img With Chargois included, seven spots in the Dodgers’ bullpen appear set – closer Kenley Jansen, left-handers Scott Alexander and Tony Cingrani and right-handers Pedro Baez, Josh Fields and Ross Stripling.“That eighth spot – to figure that one out, we’re still working through it,” Roberts said.With non-roster invitee Pat Venditte already ticketed for Triple-A, the final decision is between right-handers Yimi Garcia and Wilmer Font. The PCL Pitcher of the Year last season, Font has not been particularly impressive this spring (an 8.44 ERA and 1.59 WHIP). But he is out of options. The Dodgers cannot send him to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers first.The decision to carry 13 pitchers means the Dodgers’ bench will consist of only four players. Two spots are taken – the idle halves of platoons at catcher (Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes) and second base (Kike’ Hernandez and Chase Utley).With Matt Kemp expected to get most of the playing time in left field, a left-handed outfielder to spell him – either Joc Pederson or Andrew Toles – will take up another bench spot. This spring, Pederson has looked more like the player who got demoted to Triple-A last August (a .170 average, one home run and 11 strikeouts) than the player who went 6 for 18 with three home runs in the World Series last fall. But the prospect of limited playing time alongside Kemp might lead the Dodgers to send Toles to Triple-A, where he can play every day and continue his return from ACL surgery. A handful of minor-league prospects will travel with the Dodgers for the Freeway Series – Will Smith, Edwin Rios, Gavin Lux, Errol Robinson and D.J. Peters, who homered in Friday’s game against the Royals.Top pitching prospect Walker Buehler will not be with the Dodgers for the Freeway Series. Buehler threw three innings in a minor-league game on Wednesday and will stay in Arizona. Roberts said Buehler is expected to break camp with the Triple-A Oklahoma City team.The Dodgers have worked Buehler cautiously this spring with an eye toward keeping his innings and pitch counts down this season. They did the same with Julio Urias a year ago and even left Urias in extended spring training camp when the minor-league teams left Arizona. That does not appear to be part of the plan with Buehler. GLENDALE, Ariz. — At the start of their final week in Arizona, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts referred to the team’s bullpen picture being “a little fuzzy.”That picture is “getting pretty clear” now, Roberts said Friday, and the season-opening roster is coming into focus as a result.The Dodgers will open the season with 13 pitchers, including eight relievers, Roberts said, after briefly vacillating in the wake of Tom Koehler’s shoulder injury. Koehler’s absence opened a spot in the bullpen that was slow to be claimed. Right-hander J.T. Chargois has a grip on it now.Claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins early in camp, Chargois has been charged with only one run in eight Cactus League innings and allowed only two hits while striking out 10.last_img