The Los Angeles Dodgers are one week away from opening up the 2022 season in Denver against the Colorado Rockies. Before camp breaks, however, there are still a few unanswered questions.
The number of players still in camp as of Thursday afternoon was 41. The season will open with a 28-man roster so teams will have a little help in the pitching department because of the truncated spring training schedule.
MLB announced on Thursday that the 28-man roster will run through May 1, and there is no pitcher limit during that time. On May 2, that will change to a 26-man roster and no more than 13 pitchers on the squad. There will also only be a 10-day IL through May 1, and back to the 15-day IL after that. Also pitchers and two-way players can be optioned for 10 days though May 1, and then it will be 15 days May 2 and forward.
Manager Dave Roberts has said that the Dodgers probably will break camp with 16 pitchers, and 12 position players. Now having the designated hitter and a few days off in April will initially alleviate the need for more bench players.
Another things Roberts has said regarding the team is the the bullpen, at least initially, will be closer by committee. With the loss of Kenley Jansen, Doc and the pitching coaching staff have decided to see how the bullpen plays out and use whatever arm they feel fits the current situation the best at the time.
The initial thought is that Blake Treinen will be the one used in the most high leverage situations, and the rest of the bullpen will work itself out from there.
For his part, Treinen likes this thought process. “I kind of enjoy (my current role) more than closing time be honest with you”, he told the L.A. Times earlier this week. “I enjoy both…But you don’t always face the biggest situations in the ninth inning”.
That seemingly leaves either Brusdar Graterol or Daniel Hudson to become the closer de facto. Graterol has looked fantastic so far this spring, having pitched 3.2 innings, allowing no earned runs with a 0.27 WHIP. His velocity has been there from the beginning of camp and he is just whipping it past batters. Hudson has only pitched 2.0 innings so far in spring, but has only allowed on hit and has struck out two.
Victor Gonzalez, Alex Vesia, and Justin Bruihl all will be options out of the ‘pen in short relief roles. As of now, Tyler Anderson is slotted to be the long relief man, most likely piggy-backing a starter or two that is not quite built up yet.
As for other options, David Price pitched on Wednesday and looked strong. It was his first outing of spring training, where he pitched 1.0 innings and struck out two. Afterwards, Price told SNLA’s Kirsten Watson that there always is a two week period in every spring that it’s just a grind, going back all the way to 2011. But he is through that now, and he’s feeling good and healthy and ready to pitch wherever the Dodgers ask him.
Dave Roberts said that with Ferguson, they are going to slow-play him as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery. They are looking more at having the bulk of his innings be towards the end of the season as opposed to the beginning, and would like him to be full strength when he returns to the pitching staff.
Kahnle is also returning from Tommy John surgery, and is looking at using the month of April as his spring training. He will be pitching in both Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City as he also builds his arm back up.
Phil Bickford has yet to pitch in a spring training game, as he has been dealing with some arm soreness and a late ramp up coming into spring training. He feels healthy now, but will not be included on the opening day roster.