Edwin Ríos starts at first base for the Dodgers in Sunday’s Freeway Series exhibition against the Angels in Anaheim, with a good chance of making his third straight opening day roster.
Especially immediately following a season that saw Cody Bellinger’s power sapped after shoulder surgery, there had to be concern that Ríos would need some sort of adjustment after recovering from his own shoulder procedure to repair a torn labrum last May.
But so far this spring Ríos has looked healthy, with his signature power returned at least during Cactus League play. Ríos is tied for the Dodgers lead in home runs (three) and walks (five) this spring, while hitting .389 (7-for-18) with a team-best seven runs batted in.
|3B||Ríos (L)||LF||Marsh (L)|
|2B||Lux (L)||2B||Rojas (L)|
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts couched it a bit, telling reporters in Anaheim that it wasn’t “set in stone,” but that Friday’s trade of outfielder AJ Pollock to the White Sox could pave the way for Ríos on the opening day roster.
Position player spots are scarce on the Dodgers, especially in the early going. Roberts reiterated Sunday that the club would carry 16 pitchers at least for the opening series at Coors Field, echoing his sentiments from last week. That leaves room for only 12 position players, and a three-man bench.
Ríos is making his eighth spring start on Sunday, and he’s at first base because Freddie Freeman is unavailable. Freeman has a “24-hour bug,” per Roberts, and isn’t with the team in Anaheim.
Walker Buehler starts on the mound for the Dodgers, his final spring start before his opening day nod on Friday. Noah Syndergaard starts for the Angels.
In addition to Buehler, the Dodgers plan to use Brusdar Graterol and Daniel Hudson in relief on Sunday. Graterol faced two batters Wednesday and one batter Thursday, the first Dodgers reliever to pitch on back-to-back days this spring.
Freeway Series Game 1 info
- Teams: Dodgers at Angels
- Location: Angel Stadium, Anaheim
- Time: 6:05 p.m. PT
- TV: SportsNet LA, KCOP (Angels broadcast), ESPN+ (out of market)