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Dodgers, Craig Kimbrel will gradually merge pitching philosophy

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are known for taking relief pitchers and tweaking their mechanics or pitch usage a bit to extract every bit of value possible. The team spent countless hours working with Kenley Jansen as the game adjusted to hitting fastballs — the cutter in his case — in the top part of the strike zone where Jansen lived.

When the Dodgers acquired Craig Kimbrel from the White Sox, they got an experienced closer who has dealt with making those same adjustments. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register spoke to both Kimbrel and Dodger pitching coach Mark Prior about the game plan for the closer in his 13th season.

“I mean, he’s been doing it for a long time so there’s not much to do,” Prior said. “Just give him the ball and get out of the way.”

After struggling for large parts of the last three seasons, Kimbrel has used his breaking pitches with greater frequency. As far as the tweaking the Dodgers can offer the right-hander as the season goes on, they will give the new guy a “grace period” before they give their thoughts on how he uses his pitches.


Zach Buchanan of The Athletic writes that Dodger prospect Diego Cartaya is the latest — maybe greatest — elite catching prospect the system has produced.