For as celebrated as the first day of spring training is among fans, it’s actually quite an anticlimactic event around the clubhouse, often being compared to the first day of school. Players arrive, fill out a bunch of paperwork, take their respective physicals, and start throwing around the baseball to some degree.
Over the next few days, structured bullpen sessions will begin to happen. Next Tuesday, Feb. 23, the first full-squad workout takes place. However, the real action kicks into gear on Sunday, Feb. 28, when Cactus League play opens with the Dodgers facing Oakland.
As stated by the team, a socially-distanced fan capacity of 2400 seats will be enforced throughout the spring, which is estimated at about 18% of all available seating.
Many fans were expecting the team’s official announcement regarding the signing of Justin Turner on Wednesday, but there has not been any type of press release at the time of this writing. Most of the speculation shows either or both Caleb Ferguson and Tommy Kahnle being moved to the 60-day injured list, creating a spot on the 40-man roster for Turner.
Should both Ferguson and Kahnle be placed on the 60-day IL, it will afford the Dodgers an extra spot on the 40-man, permitting them to promote someone within the organization, adding a player through free agency or trade, or allowing them just to have an empty spot temporarily.
Regardless, those moves might be made as early as Thursday.
Besides the extra safety precautions this spring due to the lingering pandemic, it will be interesting to watch how teams’ offenses respond to the new, deadened baseballs.
According to the Detroit News, “MLB anticipates the changes will be subtle, and a memo to teams last week cites an independent lab that found the new balls will fly 1 to 2 feet shorter on balls hit over 375 feet.”
A handful of teams are even planning to add humidors to their respective stadiums.
Speaking of long balls, there were some question marks surrounding slugger Cody Bellinger’s participation at camp after having surgery on his non-throwing shoulder over the winter. While there is certainly no rush on bringing Bellinger up to speed, skipper Dave Roberts explained last week that his starting centerfielder should not be hindered, although some precautions might be in place.
“Once we get to full-squad workouts, I would expect to have him on the field, taking swings,” Roberts said. “I think right now we’re right where we need to be, from what the trainers are saying.”
Of course, the biggest news of the past few weeks was the organization’s signing of last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer. While the Padres blazed out in front of everyone in the first several weeks of the offseason, the Dodgers sprinted right past them with the signing of Bauer last week, setting up a highly anticipated battle in the NL West.
The Dodgers will open the defense of their championship on Apr. 1 in Denver against the Rockies. Game time is set for 1:10 pm PT on ESPN and SportsNet LA.
Roenicke managed the Red Sox last season, leading his team to a 24-36 record while substituting for the suspended Alex Cora. Roenicke also skippered the Brewers from 2011-15.
The Covina native and former MLB utilityman broke into the majors with the Dodgers in 1981, playing all three outfield spots.
Over the course of his eight-year, big-league career, Roenicke hit .238/.353/.338 with 17 homers and 113 RBI in 527 games.