Dodgers Cactus League Notes: Buehler, Seager, Kemp, Toles & More

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The end of spring training is rapidly approaching. Some things are becoming a little more clear, either through cuts or the performances of the players themselves. There is still much to be determined, namely the outfield.

On Sunday, the Dodgers made their first round of cuts for the season. Dennis Santana, Brock Stewart, and Tim Locastro were all optioned to minor league camp, which opens today. Other non roster invites to be sent back to minor league camp include INFs Matt Beaty, Drew Jackson, Edwin Rios; OFs Yunsiel Diaz, DJ Peters, Henry Ramos, and Travis Taijeron; Catchers Kiebert Ruiz and Shawn Zarraga; RHPs Zach Neal, Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard, Daniel Corcino, Henry Owens and C.C. Lee; and LHPs Brian Moran and Brian Schlittter.

On Monday, Edward Paredes and Rob Segedin were optioned, while Max Muncy, Will Smith and Mark Banuelos were reassigned to minor league camp. Mark Lowe was released, allowing him to try to find a spot on a roster elsewhere.

Corey Seager is scheduled to make his defensive debut Monday in a minor league game. Seager has been dealing with issues in his elbow since last season, and has been working on a throwing program that has finally progressed to where he can play the field. He has been sub-par at the bat so far this spring, collecting only two hits until he went 2-for-3 against Colorado on Sunday.

“It will be fun to finally barrel some stuff, get it going fair instead of foul…it’ll be nice to get back on the field and be in a normal rhythm and not just DH’ing,” he told David Vassegh after the game.

Matt Kemp continues his impressive performance in the 2018 Cactus League. He currently has a slash line of .423/.464/.962/1.426 with four home runs and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Andrew Toles is also having a very good spring, with his own slash line of .370/.367./741/.1.107 with two homers and two doubles. It looks as though the platoon for left field is shaping up to be these two men. And that would leave Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and Trayce Thompson on the outside looking in. There’s still time for things to change, of course, but it’s looking like Trayce is out of options and Joc and Alex will be starting the year in OKC.

Some bats have yet to heat up. We already mentioned Seager, but Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal have not quite gotten it going. Barnes has been dealing with an elbow issue of his own, slowing down his start to the season. Bellinger just has a home run, just one of five hits so far. Grandal has three homers, including a grand slam in Sunday’s game, but 10 strikeouts to go along with those homers.

Walker Buehler had a most impressive spring debut, going two innings, facing seven batters and striking out five. He got up to 99 MPH on the radar gun, and his fastball had impressive movement. He may not be long in Triple-A. On Monday, he was optioned back to minor league camp.

With playing time increasing for the regulars now that there are less players in camp, we will really get a sense of who is ready and who needs a little more work. And we’ll all hold our collective breath waiting to see the outcome of Seager playing the field, and how his elbow feels afterwards.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)
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