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Dodgers are using USC as alternate training site

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Dedeaux Field and nearby environs will hold overflow training for those not at Dodger Stadium

Sports Contributor Archive 2016 Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Dodgers are using USC as their alternate training site, in Los Angeles just six miles away from Dodger Stadium. The original plan was to move things to Rancho Cucamonga, home of the Dodgers’ Advanced Class-A affiliate, once students began arriving on campus at USC.

USC’s fall semester begins on August 17, but on July 1 the school shifted gears, saying undergraduate students would primarily or exclusively have online classes.

“Los Angeles is experiencing an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, making it clear we need to dramatically reduce our on-campus density and all indoor activities for the fall semester,” a pair of school officials said in a statement.

As of now it’s unclear if the Dodgers will remain at USC in August or switch to Rancho Cucamonga.

USC more than fits the requirement by MLB that the alternate site be close enough to feasibly get to the home site without air travel. Rancho Cucamonga does as well, as the next-closest Dodgers affiliate is rookie-level Ogden, whose stadium is 726 miles from Dodger Stadium.

The alternate training site will serve as essentially an overflow spot so players in the club player pool can stay ready during the regular season. All players not on the active roster or taxi squad must be assigned to the alternate training site.

In summer camp, it’s mostly those with reasonable chances to make the opening day roster at Dodger Stadium, but not limited to that. So far, 31 players on the 40-man roster have been in major league camp, plus non-roster players AJ Ramos, Rocky Gale, Cody Thomas, Josiah Gray, and others have made appearances, too.

Some minor league staff, like field coordinator Clayton McCullough, pitching coordinator Donnie Alexander, and Triple-A Oklahoma City manager Travis Barbary have helped out in major league camp at Dodger Stadium.

“They’re gonna work back and forth from the USC site to here,” manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “There’s also been a couple of strength and conditioning guys and medical staff. So there’s kind of a handful of guys that they’ve gone back and forth.”

Once the regular season starts there will be more of a separation between the majors and the alternate training site, since the active roster will include 30 players in the first two weeks, plus up to three taxi squad members. That leaves 27 for the alternate site, minus any others on the injured list.

There won’t be an exhibition games at these alternate training sites, only intrasquad games as to restrict added exposure to other teams.

Links & news

  • Dave Roberts said A.J. Ramos, added to the club’s player pool Monday, threw off flat ground recently, and will throw a bullpen season by Wednesday, and will likely pitch in an intrasquad game by the end of the week. “He’s a physical specimen, he’s in great shape,” Roberts said.
  • Dodgers Foundation CEO Nichol Whiteman, to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times: “I find myself to be an example of the potential possibilities and outcomes of folks that come out of communities of color who are given a chance and given an opportunity and honestly given access.”
  • Andy McCullough at The Athletic wrote about the incentive for pending free agents like Mookie Betts, George Springer, and J.T. Realmuto to play this season, while other established stars who already received big paydays have opted out.
  • The Dodgers will play a three-inning intrasquad game on Wednesday night beginning at 6:40 p.m. PT, and will stream the game live on Twitter and Facebook, along with commentary from Alanna Rizzo and Nomar Garciaparra.