GLENDALE — With Opening Day two weeks away, here is what is going on at Camelback Ranch .
Corey Seager checking off boxes to get ready for the season
Yesterday, Seager took live batting practice against Walker Buehler. Today, Seager will take the field in a minor league spring training game.
Manager Dave Roberts indicated that after a few minor league spring training games, Seager could be ready to play with the Dodgers in a spring training game.
“Three innings defense tomorrow, take a couple of at-bats, he’ll probably not play the next day defensively and get back out there and maybe get to five innings over there.”
“Hopefully early next week, something like that, he might be with us.”
Updates on Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler
Clayton Kershaw will pitch a bullpen today as he continues to progress for the season. Walker Buehler is a little ahead it appears as he looks to pitch in a Cactus League game next week.
Roberts, who watched Buehler throw batting practice yesterday, liked what he saw from the Dodger right-hander.
“It was good, two innings and he executed all of his pitches,” Roberts said, “and talking to Austin, who caught him, talking to the hitters, the way the ball was getting on guys and how sharp his breaking pitches were, really good.”
“Five days from now you’ll see him in an “A” game on our side, we’ll decide if it is going to be a two plus or three inning thing for Walker.”
Roberts added it could be Buehler pitching in five days [Monday] or getting five days off and pitching next Tuesday.
Ross Stripling taking everything in stride
Before last night’s game went a little bonkers, Ross Stripling made his third appearance this spring.
“Ross was good, he cruised through three,” Roberts said, “I think everything was where it needed to be.” “Curveball wasn’t as sharp as it usually is, but we got his pitch count up.”
Stripling got to the fourth inning last night, looking closer to the five innings/75 pitches build up status that Roberts had said they wanted him to be at the end of spring training
“Getting up to 62 pitches, four up-downs,” Stripling said, “no clarity moving forward really. Buehler threw to hitters today, sounds like that went well, Kershaw’s kind of trying ramp it up, so I’m just hanging out waiting to see what happens.”
Stripling believes his fate (as a starter) is tied to Kershaw and Buehler. “I say so, you know, Hyun-jin’s looked good, Kenta’s looked good, Richie’s looked good,” Stripling said. “I just kind of do what I do and hang out in the weeds and wait for an opportunity and take advantage of it.
“But obviously we need Kershaw and Buehler to be healthy and you want those guys ready to rock but if they are not ready for the first rotation or even the second rotation, and I’m the first guy, then I’ll get after it.
Asked about his build up but then maybe being in the bullpen to start the season, Stripling said he’ll be ready for whatever he has to do.
”Going to bullpen built up, makes me think then the times I’d be used would be more like in long relief,” Stripling said, “at least at first to try and keep me built up so that if I do have to jump in to make a start then I am still there and don’t have to do last year where my first one was at four [innings], next one was four and then five, kind of already ready to go. But I don’t know that, I might end up throwing to a righty in the eighth inning on Opening Day only so who knows.”
Cody Bellinger making adjustments
Roberts said that he thinks the work that Cody Bellinger and the Dodger hitting coaches have worked on his approach and swing and you are beginning see some results.
“Cody, the hitting guys, they really cleaned up some things with his mechanics,” Roberts said, “he’s in a much better place, for me, then where he was all last year.”
“He’s always hit lefties and had good at-bats against righties, so where’s he at right now, he’s in a good place.”
Bullpen spots available with two weeks to go
Roberts had a short answer when asked how many spots are up for grabs right now.
“There’s a couple, I think of every part of two is fair.”
Yimi Garcia is one pitcher who is trying to be part of the bullpen, he has made six appearances and pitched six scoreless innings. He’s given up four hits and a walk while striking out eight.
“He’s doing some things,” Roberts said, “giving himself a chance to make this club.” “We see the value of him getting righties, getting lefties out, him going one plus.”
“The velocity, swing and miss, the characteristics of that kind up shoot fastball is there.”
“Right now, he’s doing everything he can to make things tough on us.”
Split squad games today
The Dodgers play two today.
The evening game will start at 6:40 p.m. as the Dodgers travel up to Peoria to take on the San Diego Padres. Kenta Maeda is the scheduled starter for the Dodgers. You can listen to that game’s audio broadcast on MLB.com.