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Dodgers notes: Brusdar Graterol, the Craig Kimbrel plan, Clayton Kershaw’s health

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the Dodgers now back home (sort of) for the Freeway Series against the Angels, let’s take a stroll threw some news in the final day or two of the Arizona portion of camp.

Bullpen stuff

Brusdar Graterol is looking good this spring, and Mike Petriello at MLB.com called him the “secret weapon” of a deep Dodgers bullpen. Among the reasons to be bullish on the 23-year-old, besides the triple-digit radar readings, are his results from 2020-21 — Petriello noted Graterol’s absurdly high percentile ranking in called strike rate, ground ball rate, and low barrel rate — and the introduction of a new pitch, the cutter, late last year.

Craig Kimbrel’s Dodgers debut in Saturday’s exhibition was terrible, allowing four hits, including two home runs and a double, and four runs to his five batters faced. But beyond that, Kimbrel’s relatively light spring workload — Saturday was just his second Cactus League game this spring — means he won’t be overly taxed in the early going of the regular season.

This was decided before Kimbrel’s appearance against San Francisco, in case you were wondering.

Top o’ the rotation to ya

Walker Buehler starts the Freeway Series opener Sunday in Anaheim, and will start Friday on opening day at Coors Field. Julio Urías starts Monday against the Angels at Dodger Stadium. Where Urías and Clayton Kershaw slot in for the Rockies series hasn’t yet been announced, but the important thing is that Kershaw is healthy, which was very much in question during the lockout.

Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register talked to Kershaw, who said his spring performance proved that he’s healthy, and to pitching coach Mark Prior:

“With the lockout, there wasn’t a lot of communication,” Prior said. “I think it’s probably fair to say that some of us probably expected him to be later in the April-, May-type situation. But once the lockout was over, talking to him and kind of where he felt and what he was doing, and to get to that point, it’s been nice.

“We’ve really tried to put him on a conservative progression, really not trying to push the envelope. … He’s been great about telling us and communicating on where he’s at. … So, yeah, pleasantly surprised he’s at where he’s at. But knowing who he is – not necessarily always that surprised.”

Quite a pickle!

As part of the Copa de la Diversión for certain games across minor league baseball in 2022, the High-A Great Lakes Loons will play as the Pepinillos Picantes del Norte (translation: Spicy Pickles) on three Friday home games this season: June 17 vs. Wisconsin (Brewers), July 22 vs. West Michigan (Tigers), and August 26 against Fort Wayne (Padres).

Miscellaneous

  • ESPN+ will carry Sunday and Tuesday’s Freeway Series games against the Angels, though that will be blacked out locally because of the telecasts on SportsNet LA, KCOP (Sunday), and Bally Sports West (Tuesday).
  • Who knew Skip Schumaker was such a prankster? The one-time Dodger reserve is now a bench coach with the Cardinals, Schumaker has a long history of prank battles with St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, chronicled by Derrick Goold at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.