As the month of March comes to an end, that means Opening Day is right around the corner. Teams have begun to announce roster moves and inform players where they will begin the year.
The Dodgers have begun their final roster moves, as the end of the Cactus League is this weekend. Right-handed pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who missed the 2020 season with an injury, re-signed with the Dodgers over the winter with hopes of making the active roster. Coming into spring, it was quite unclear where Nelson fell into the Dodgers’ plans.
On Thursday, the Dodgers announced that Nelson made the 40-man roster, and is likely to make the Opening Day roster. He’ll probably start off in the bullpen, but he could be used to make an emergency start if needed.
Tommy Kahnle was put on the 60-day injured list to make room for Nelson. Kahnle signed with the team this offseason, but is expected to miss the whole 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
This spring, Nelson in seven innings has struck out nine batters while allowing a WHIP of 0.71.
The Dodgers also announced that Sheldon Neuse was optioned to minor league camp. Neuse was acquired about a month ago from the Oakland Athletics along with Gus Varland in the Adam Kolarek deal. Neuse had a decent Cactus League season, opening the door for him to be called up sometime down the road. The Dodgers still have a couple of cuts to make to get to 26 players.
The Dodgers could carry 12-13 pitchers or about five bench players. With Neuse out of the picture, that narrows it down. The names that could be in the running for the bench are Zach McKinstry, DJ Peters, Edwin Rios, or Matt Beaty.
About three of those players will probably lock up bench spots. Rios is set to return today after dealing with a hamstring injury the past couple of games. However, the Dodgers have gotten a better look at Rios at the big league level than some of the others. McKinstry has been quite impressive this spring, batting .333 hitting one homer, and knocking in six RBIs.
Peters has hit .235 with two homers and four RBI, but he could be a big power bat off the bench should he make the team. It will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do and how they fill out their roster. Their depth is a good problem to have at times, but it sometimes makes for tough personnel decisions.
Chris Taylor on Friday will hold a charity event in hopes of raising proceeds in the fight against pediatric cancer. Named “The Virtual Home Run For Hope Concert,” will host several country music artists such as Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, and Toby Keith from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pacific.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at homerunforhope.com.
With the Cactus League coming to an end, Clayton Kershaw looks to get a final tuneup on Friday before his Opening Day start., as the Dodgers face the Oakland Athletics at Camelback Ranch.
Kershaw will face Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Pacific.