Dustin May gets back on a Cactus League mound on Monday for the first time in nearly two weeks, starting against the Rockies at Salt River Fields.
The long layoff doesn’t mean much from a practical standpoint. Though May last pitched in a game on March 2, he also pitched in a simulated game on the back fields on March 7 — to fix a mechanical flaw — and threw a few bullpen sessions last week. May is expected to pitch three innings Monday, leaving plenty of time to still further stretch out for the regular season if needed.
“My main goal is just making the club on opening day,” May said Friday. “Hopefully I’m doing enough as we go forward to be able to do that. But it’s out of my control.”
May’s long-term role is a starting pitcher, but for now at least there may not be room in the Dodgers rotation. Dave Roberts has said multiple times this spring he has eight starting pitchers and that he’s not opposed to carrying all eight on the active roster to open the season if needed. David Price before spring training told the team he’s open to pitching in relief, and non-roster invitee Jimmy Nelson — who has seven strikeouts and no walks in five innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits to date this spring — said he’s willing to pitch in any role.
May started opening day and made 10 starts for the Dodgers last year, but in the postseason was used in shorter bursts, never pitching longer than two innings. With minor league seasons not starting until May, it makes sense to have May available to pitch in major league games, even in relief, rather than be in limbo for five weeks.
So for now, he’ll stretch out, as will Price and probably Nelson, because it’s easier to reduce innings later on, if needed, than build up.
Technically, we only know one Dodgers starting pitcher at the moment, with Clayton Kershaw tabbed for his ninth opening day start. But it’s not too hard to see the rest of the rotation come into focus. Even if you only have one eye open.
Monday starts a run of four straight day games for the Dodgers, but get ready for night action after that. Beginning Friday against Texas, the Dodgers will play eight times under the lights in their final 11 exhibition games.
The Dodgers cut 28 players Monday morning, leaving 45 players left in big league camp. But several players who were sent to minor league camp will still join the team as part of the travel roster to Salt River Fields, including Alex Vesia, Ryan Pepiot, Robinson Ortiz, Gus Varland, Omar Estevez, James Outman, and Ryan Noda.
Also expected to pitch for the Dodgers today are Corey Knebel, Mike Kickham, Scott Alexander, Nick Robertson and Varland.
Right-hander José Mujica starts on the mound for the Rockies.
Teams: Dodgers at Rockies
Location: Salt River Fields
Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA