Catching up on Dodgers news from the last few days on a Sunday morning.
Jack Harris at the Los Angeles caught up with Mookie Betts at his bowling charity event to talk about his recent U.S. Open performance, and how the All-Star outfielder uses bowling as an escape from baseball.
“Bowling was the first thing I started doing,” Betts told Harris. “I think that kind of gets missed. I was doing that before I was doing anything else. I just have never stopped.”
Dodgers director of player development Will Rhymes talked with Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic about the four starting pitchers next on the depth chart after the presumed rotation. Among the notes was Ryan Pepiot last year losing feel for the changeup — his best pitch — while introducing a new slider to his repertoire.
“(Sometimes) it was good, but I think there were times he was searching for it. I do think the mechanics and just learning himself, just learning the tempo and the rhythm, how to control himself in those big moments — look, it’s hard,” Rhymes told Ardaya. “Trying to really dominate when he goes up (to the big leagues) and putting pressure on himself, it’s all natural things that a pitcher has to go through.”
Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register wrote about Miguel Vargas and his willingness to learn and embrace change in his new role at second base.
Plunkett also concluded his series of Dodgers spring training previews with a look at the bullpen, which also served as a reminder that Daniel Hudson’s availability for opening day isn’t a given as he recovers from last June’s knee surgery.
One more Plunkett story, this time for Baseball America talking to Michael Busch, who has heard the scouting reports saying he needs to improve on defense.
“I try to be honest with myself,” Busch told Plunkett. “I think confidence is a huge thing, but at some point you have to be real with yourself and if you’re not performing to the ability that the Dodgers expect of you, you’ve got to talk to yourself about that and work on some things that you might be uncomfortable with.”