Opening day is now 17 days away, and Dodgers relievers Brusdar Graterol and Joe Kelly have yet to face live hitters, putting their availability for April 1 in question.
“I would assume that he’ll take down some live hitters at some point in time,” manager Dave Roberts said of Graterol Monday. “But until he checks that box, we won’t see him in a game.”
In addition to getting married this offseason, Graterol was sidelined from throwing this offseason. Roberts would not specify what Graterol dealt with, though did say it was nothing orthopedic.
“There’s a lot of things that took place this winter for Brusdar that didn’t allow for him to prepare like he normally would have, as far as throwing bullpens to prepare for spring training. The last thing we want to do is speed him up when he’s not ready,” Roberts said. “The main thing is that we just want him to be healthy and progress the right way.”
Kelly is in the same boat, though his is due to soreness, the details of which are vague. He threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday, though there are still hurdles to clear before he pitches in a game.
“He’ll go again on Tuesday, and I assume it will be a more extended bullpen with some breaking balls mixed in,” Roberts said. “Hopefully after that, the next progression would be facing hitters.”
Graterol and Kelly each recorded a save in last year’s postseason, and are expected to be key contributors this season. But with opening day getting closer and closer, it might be best not to expect them to be available to pitch right away once the season starts.
Another pitcher who won’t be ready for the start of the season is non-roster invitee Brandon Morrow, who last pitched in a major league game on July 15, 2018. Morrow also won’t pitch in a spring training game, and has been on a slower throwing program in camp. “Each day is getting better, but I just don’t know when I expect to see him with us. We’re just trying to make sure that he stays healthy, stays strong, and can handle the workload throughout a season,” Roberts said.
Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers on Tuesday against Milwaukee, and be followed by Trevor Bauer. Both are expected to pitch three or four innings. Walker Buehler starts on Wednesday.
Corey Seager reached base three times on Monday, and hit a home run for the fifth time in his last six games.
Justin Turner hit his first career spring training triple on Monday, in his 592nd career spring plate appearance. He drove in a run with that first-inning hit, then drove in another with a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the second inning.
Here’s the diving catch made by James Outman in right field in end Monday’s 12-5 win for the Dodgers: