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Dodgers still deciding opening day bullpen configuration & rotation order

Dodger Stadium before a Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series exhibition game on April 4, 2022. Reliever Evan Phillips is pitching a simulated game on the mound, throwing to minor league hitters.
Dodger Stadium before a Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series exhibition game on April 4, 2022. Reliever Evan Phillips is pitching a simulated game on the mound, throwing to minor league hitters.
Photo: Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

LOS ANGELES — With only two exhibition games remaining, several Dodgers pitchers got their work in before Monday night’s middle game of the Freeway Series against the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

Tyler Anderson threw at least four, possibly five innings of a simulated game on his new home mound earlier Monday. In between his frames, relievers Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, and Evan Phillips pitched their own innings as well.

“It was more runnings out of innings, game innings,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To kind of put these guys in front of hitters to get some kind of live action.”

For Hudson, Monday was the second day in a row after pitching an inning in Sunday’s game in Anaheim. He’s the second Dodgers pitcher to pitch back-to-back days this spring — a common end-of-spring checklist item for relievers — along with Brusdar Graterol. Phillips is the only relief pitcher fighting for a roster spot who is out of options.

The Dodgers are still deciding, or perhaps just haven’t yet revealed the full opening day roster. But there are effectively 29 players for 28 spots, 16 of which will be pitchers.

Dodgers-Angels lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Dodgers
Pos Dodgers Pos Dodgers
DH Ohtani (L) RF Betts
1B Duffy DH Freeman (L)
3B Rendon SS Turner
RF Ward 3B Turner
LF Adell 1B Muncy (L)
SS Mayfield C Smith
2B Stefanic LF Taylor
C Suzuki CF Bellinger (L)
CF Marsh (L) 2B Alberto
Julio Urías vs. José Suarez on the mound 6:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA, Bally Sports So Cal)

“There’s still some guys, mainly in the bullpen, that we’re trying to figure out,” Roberts said.

The 12 position players are set, including Edwin Ríos, who made the last two opening day rosters as well but with no fans in 2020 and a limited crowd in 2021. This will be his first opening day before a capacity crowd.

“He was thrilled. I called him when he was with his wife at the house,” Roberts said. “He was really excited, and he’s earned it.”

What the Dodgers aren’t ready to divulge just yet is the order of their starting rotation to start the year. Walker Buehler is set for opening day on Friday, but the rest of the weekend series at Coors Field is TBA.

The other known quantity is that Andrew Heaney will not pitch during the series against the Rockies. He threw a bullpen session earlier Monday at Dodger Stadium to stay fresh, and figures to start one of the two games in Minnesota next Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Dodgers will have several options to fill innings in Colorado, for one because they will have 16 pitchers. But also because Anderson pitched earlier Monday to stay ready to pitch at Coors Field, and both Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin will pitch in Monday night’s game against the Angels.

Where Clayton Kershaw slots in after pitching last Saturday at Camelback Ranch is under consideration as well. Roberts said there aren’t any health concerns among his starting pitchers.

“It’s more matchup-based, and just kind of looking at the Rockies series, looking beyond that,” Roberts said. “And how guys, most importantly, come out of tonight.”