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Chris Taylor homers, Freddie Freeman thrives in return from tight hamstring

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Coming off their win against the north side Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers beat the south side Chicago White Sox, 6-4 in a Saturday matinee. It was a chance for right-hander Michael Grove continue his bid for a starting rotation spot after Tony Gonsolin’s injury.

Grove struggled out of the gate, surrendering a lead off home run to Andrew Benintendi, but was able to rebound through the rest of his start. Grove settled in nicely, striking out six hitters in just 3⅔ IP on the day.

Taylor turning things around

Chris Taylor entered Saturday’s match with just a .091 batting average and a putrid OPS of just .322. Taylor hadn’t hit for extra bases at any point leading up to Saturday’s game, and he hadn’t since the 2022 regular season. While Dave Roberts had downplayed Taylor’s struggles as just an “outlier” last season, it looked as if his 2023 would head towards a similar trajectory.

Maybe it was the chance for Taylor to play at an unmastered position such as third base that helped motivate him to flip the script on his Spring. Maybe it was because Roberts had also commented on Taylor’s swing being “out of whack.” Taylor finished the day 2-4, and served as the catalyst for the Dodgers victory, nailing a two run shot to give LA a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh, recapturing the lead for the first time since the top of the first.

No slack from Freddie Freeman in his return from injury

Freddie Freeman is arguably one of the game’s most consistent hitters in the league, and his showing against the White Sox proved why. Although he suffered a hamstring injury during the World Baseball Classic, the severity was minor, and Freeman was able to play his first spring training game since March 6 against San Diego.

Freeman wasted no time in his first at bat, roping a single right up the middle. Freeman would finish perfect at the plate, singling twice and adding a walk against the Sox. So far this spring, he has looked to be one of the best hitters all around, as he has posted a .421 batting average, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and a ludicrous 1.500 OPS in just 19 at bats.

New addition looking to bolster bullpen and revive career

Shelby Miller, a former-first round pick by the Cardinals and All-Star starter with the Braves, has seen his career derail after the deal that sent him to Arizona from Atlanta for a package including outfielder Ender Inciarte. After bouncing from the Rangers, to the Cubs, to the Pirates, and to the rival Giants last season, the Dodgers took a gamble on Miller, signing him to a one-year major league deal.

This move takes a page out of the a patented Dodgers’ handbook, one that has seen them revitalize the careers of many players whose best seasons were figured to be an afterthought. With the case of Miller, it’s not only about reviving his career, but making him an effective arm out of the bullpen.

Although posting an inflated ERA of 12.27 in four spring games so far with the Dodgers, Miller made quick work of the White Sox on Saturday, needing just four pitches to work the eighth inning.

We’re still 12 days from opening day, and while we don’t know the full composition of the bullpen, Roberts told reporters Saturday at least two left-handed pitchers would make the team.

Up next

The Dodgers will play their second consecutive game at Camelback Ranch, this time hosting the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. (SportsNet LA). Dustin May will make his fourth start of the spring.