PHOENIX — On the eve of the Dodgers opening Cactus League play, here are some notes from Friday at Camelback Ranch, involving the status of various players and their relative game readiness.
Hyun-jin Ryu threw 33 pitches in two simulated innings against Dodgers hitters — including Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Brett Eibner, Darnell Sweeney and O`Koyea Dickson — as he continues his comeback from elbow surgery in September.
The issue with Ryu, who has pitched in one major league game in the last two seasons, is whether his first game action will be in a major league spring game, or the more controlled environment of a simulate game on the back fields of camp.
I missed a scrum with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt after Ryu’s outing on Friday afternoon. It sounds as though things went well for Ryu, though the club still might take the cautious route for now.
Ryu, after two operations, hasn't had any trouble bouncing back the day after throwing, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 24, 2017
Couple hitters that faced Ryu said he had good command of his pitches. #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) February 24, 2017
Honeycutt on Ryu: "Right now, I'm hoping if he feels fine, he'll want to pitch in a regular game but we're not there yet"— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 24, 2017
Thompson still on comeback trail
Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson is unlikely to see time in any major league spring games this week, as he continues to recover from a back injury that wiped out the final three months of the season.
"He's really progressing nicely. But to say he'll be ready in the first week to be in a major league game, we're not so sure,” manager Dave Roberts said on Friday.
Thompson is participating in all baseball activities during workouts, including hitting and base running, but Roberts hesitated to declare Thompson a “full go” for major league game action. Thompson will likely play in simulated games before he sees time in any Cactus League games.
"We just want to make sure he's healthy. We all understand the numbers, but he hasn't played in a major league game since July. He still needs to see live pitching,” Roberts said. “But there is that balance in spring training, not running him out there too much but also getting him the at-bats to feel good about things where he hasn't competed for a while.
"The player is going to want to be out there and get as many at-bats as possible as quickly as possible, but we've got to keep a balance.”
There was some question earlier in the week whether Julio Urias would pitch in games on the back fields or in Cactus League action, but Roberts on Friday said Urias will pitch in a major league game next week.
"All of this has been a learning experience for Julio. He has high aptitude,” Roberts said. “The more he gets exposed to this environment, the better he gets, and that's what he has done.”
Rich Hill (Sunday) and Kenta Maeda (Monday) are expected to throw two innings in their first start of spring. Clayton Kershaw is only expected to pitch one inning on Saturday, though he was given the option to pitch two if he wanted to. However, given the relative length of this spring training, Kershaw will get an extra start to build up toward opening day.
"It's how they feel,” Roberts said. “Honey has a good program to build those guys up.”
Alex Wood will also pitch on Saturday for the Dodgers against the White Sox.
Scott Kazmir also pitched two simulated innings to hitters on Friday, throwing 25 pitches. Kazmir has been working on mechanical issues for most of camp, and seems to be making good progress.
Scott Kazmir looked "tremendously better" in his second session of live BP, Rick Honeycutt said. Kazmir has been at war with his delivery.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 24, 2017