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Dodgers notes: Michael Busch, Max Muncy, crowded paternity list, Mark Prior

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After a brief respite, the Dodgers got back on the transactional beam with four roster moves on Tuesday. Let’s check on some more Dodgers stories from early this week.

Michael Busch made his major league debut in front of 32 family and friends in attendance at PNC Park. Before the game he spoke with reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:

“It’s always been a dream when I was younger,” Busch said of making the big leagues. “It never really seemed like it was realistic, in a way. As I’ve gotten older and done some things, it started to feel a little more realistic.”

Busch had an RBI single in his debut, then walked and scored on Chris Taylor’s game-winning home run.

Max Muncy’s inferno-hot stretch was examined by Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs, who theorizes the restrictions on defensive shift could help Muncy gain an extra hit or two once he stops homering every five plate appearances:

The post-injury Muncy has been pulling the ball more than at any other point in his career; he ranked fourth in the majors at 49.2% last year, and is currently fourth at an astronomical 59.1% this year. On pulled groundballs against shifts, he hit just .109 (7-for-64) last year and .105 (18-for-171) over the last three years, which helps to account for his sub-Mendoza Line batting averages in 2020 and ’22. This year, he’s already 2-for-9, and while that’s not a whole lot to hang one’s hat upon, that start and a bit of logic suggest he’ll pick up at least a few extra hits.

With four Dodgers on paternity leave within a week of each other — plus former Dodger Cody Bellinger landing on paternity leave with the Cubs on Tuesday — Jon Weisman at his Slayed By Voices newsletter wrote, “Five years ago, the Dodgers validated the franchise’s long-ago team nickname of Bridegrooms with no fewer than seven player weddings during the 2017-18 offseason. Now, though the San Diego Padres are sometimes nicknamed the Dads, that might be a moniker the Dodgers want to borrow.”

Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior was the subject of a lengthy profile by Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times, including how Prior relates to pitchers and things Prior has learned over the years as a pitcher then a coach. Included is how Prior remembered his experience on the mound as the Cubs gave away Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS — the Steve Bartman Game:

“I think if anything, that just reinforced the value of each and every out, and how precious it is,” he added. “It’s stuff we talk about with our pitchers. What that can do, how it can impact the game.”

MLB writers at The Athletic pored through baseball media guides to find obscure facts for every team. Fabian Ardaya notes that Noah Syndergaard nicknames each glove he wears, then later auctions them off for charity. Among the nicknames: “Drago (Rocky IV), which was the glove he used in the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field, Heisenberg (Breaking Bad), Jon Snow (Game of Thrones), Lion, Thor (Marvel) and Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead).”