The Dodgers announced their opening day roster on Thursday, which includes 16 pitchers and 12 position players to start the season.
Normally the active roster includes 26 players, with a no more than 13 pitchers. But with a spring training shortened by the 99-day MLB lockout, teams are are allowed to carry 28 players through May 1, with no limits on the number of active pitchers during that time.
A combination of the designated hitter returning to the National League — as it was in 2020 — and the Dodgers having five off days in the first four weeks of the season informed their decision to carry only three position players on the bench to start the year.
“With the DH and the guys we have on our roster on the position player side, there’s not too many guys that I’d have to hit for. We have some off days,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters in Arizona on March 30. “It allows for a more straightforward approach.”
The roster moves to finalize the roster was Phil Bickford optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Tommy Kahnle and Caleb Ferguson were placed on the 10-day injured list while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Victor González landed on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation.
Starting pitchers (6)
Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Andrew Heaney, Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson
Anderson is listed here despite not being in the rotation at least the first time through. He’ll provide bulk innings in relief, something especially more valuable in the early going when not many pitchers are fully stretched out to last deep into games.
Right-handed relief pitchers (6)
Craig Kimbrel, Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips, Mitch White
The Dodgers traded for a defined closer in Kimbrel, but one who only pitched in three games in spring training and won’t be overly taxed in the first few weeks. Mitch White gets the call as an extra long man at least during the series at Coors Field. “He’s done a lot of good things for us, and his role is sort of long relief,” said Roberts on Monday. “He’s embraced that role.”
Left-handed relief pitchers (4)
Alex Vesia, David Price, Justin Bruihl, Garrett Cleavinger
Vesia was one of the Dodgers best relievers last season as a rookie.
Will Smith, Austin Barnes
These two have started 220 of 222 regular season games behind the plate since the beginning of 2020.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Hanser Alberto, Edwin Ríos, Gavin Lux
Gavin Lux will play a mix of second base and left field, but we’re lumping him in with the infielders here because he figures to play more second base in the early going.
Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor is technically an infielder/outfielder and will eventually play all over the field, where needed. But for now, especially after recovering from elbow surgery in November, Taylor will mostly play left field, to not tax his elbow with the differing arm angles when throwing in the infield.
Injured list (6)
Danny Duffy (60-day), Jimmy Nelson (60-day), Dustin May (60-day)
Victor González, Tommy Kahnle, Caleb Ferguson
González, Kahnle, and Ferguson were placed on the 10-day injured list on Thursday, retroactive to April 4. Pitcher injured list stints are 15 days this season beginning May 2, but until then they are 10 days.
Opening day across the sport started Thursday, with 14 MLB teams in action. The Dodgers start the season on Friday, with a three-game series against the Rockies, the second straight season they’ve opened at Coors Field.
Walker Buehler makes his first opening day start for the Dodgers, with left-hander Kyle Freeland starting for the Rockies.