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Dodgers notes: Jason Heyward, opening day roster, sticky stuff

Opening day is 13 days from now

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Los Angeles Dodgers v. San Diego Padres Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Jason Heyward has two home runs this spring, and has started regularly in center field. But after March 4, when the non-roster invitee hit his second home run, the veteran has just one hit in 19 at-bats, with nine strikeouts and three walks.

Cactus League stats obviously aren’t the sole determinant to earn a roster spot, and the Dodgers don’t seem too concerned about Heyward’s struggles over the last two weeks.

From Jack Harris in the Los Angeles Times:

Even though his camp performance has tailed off the last several weeks, and he remains no guarantee to produce during the regular season, it appears increasingly clear he’ll have a role to play in the Dodgers outfield in 2023.

“I think it’s a safe bet,” Roberts said of Heyward’s chances of making the major league team. “He’s come to spring training with this new revamped swing that, it looks like he’s done it for a long time.”

Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic described Heyward’s roster status similarly last Thursday, noting, “Roberts all but confirmed that Jason Heyward will make the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, as expected.”

After the Dodgers’ roster cuts on Monday, only 13 healthy position players remain on the 40-man roster. Consider that major league teams can’t carry more than 13 pitchers on the active roster at one time, the position player group is nearly set for opening day.

With Heyward not yet on the 40-man roster, but if we assume he will be added — given the reports above from Dodgers camp — that essentially makes the next two weeks a battle between James Outman and Yonny Hernández for the final spot.

Links & news

Major League Baseball on Thursday announced a partnership with Zoom, which will be used for all communications between umpires and the replay review center at league headquarters. MLB’s press release touted the transparency, though for television audiences that will only come on a limited number of broadcasts: “During national broadcasts on MLB Network and Apple TV+, fans will also see the Zoom Replay Operations Center in action live during replay reviews and hear from an expert rules analyst who will discuss replay reviews with the broadcast team.”

Old friend Justin Turner was named community athlete of the year this week at the Los Angeles Sports Awards, which will re-air beginning Friday on Spectrum SportsNet. The Dodgers winning 111 games to set a franchise record was voted the fourth-best LA sports moment of 2022.

A memo sent by MLB to teams Thursday outlined that umpires would more aggressively check pitchers for foreign substances this season. The memo, per Jayson Stark at The Athletic, includes “randomized checks of fingers (including removal of rings worn on either hand of pitchers), hands, hats, gloves, belts/waistlines and pants,” among other things.

If video games are your thing (I’ve never felt older than typing that sentence), new ratings for MLB The Show 23 are out, and here are the top Dodgers ratings (99 is the highest possible) ... sort of.

Julio Urías also received an 88 rating, per at least one site, but for some reason wasn’t listed in the graphic above.