With less than a week to go before the start of the 2023 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced their roster to start the season.
For the most part, the roster does not contain many surprises. Two additions do stand out, however.
The starting rotation including Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May and Noah Syndergaard were all to be expected. But the last spot, left vacant by an ankle injury to Tony Gonsolin, was taken by Ryan Pepiot.
It came down to a decision between Pepiot and Michael Grove.
Manager Dave Roberts spoke to the media about choosing Pepiot over Grove.
“They both earned that opportunity. Probably the toughest decision we had to think through,” Roberts said. “I guess, to put it more simply, we just felt Ryan outperformed Michael this spring. … We just felt it was the right decision at this point in time.”
Roberts continued talking about the strides Pepiot has made this spring. n
“He’s made huge strides,” Roberts said. “And I say that with the mechanics. The delivery is a lot more consistent. There just seems to be more clarity and things have slowed down for him. We just feel like his stuff plays at the Major League level.”
The bullpen will include Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips, Yency Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Avesta, Shelby Miller, Phil Bickford, and Andre Jackson. Bickford was included because he was out of optioned.
As for Jackson, Roberts spoke about his inclusion, as a long man.
“To have a guy that can give you 75 pitches is really meaningful,” Roberts said. “Andre has earned the opportunity to be the length guy on our roster.”
Catchers will be Austin Barnes and Will Smith.
The infield will consist of Freddie Freeman, Miguel Vargas, Miguel Rojas, and Max Muncy. Chris Taylor is continue his utility roll, and J.D. Martinez will be the DH.
Outfielders are Mookie Betts, David Peralta, Trayce Thompson, and James Outman.
Many fans had been hoping that Outman would make the Opening Day roster, as he showed out throughout Spring Training.
In addition to naming the roster, Julio Urías has been named the Opening Day starter.
“Obviously it’s another accomplishment in my career, I’m very happy and thankful to the team for the opportunity,” Urias said in Spanish of his Opening Day assignment.
“With the talent in our rotation, it’s an important role. That they’ve chosen me, I was really thankful and happy.”
“I think he’s earned this opportunity,” Roberts said. “He’s checked a lot of boxes and this is one of the last for him and something that from his teammates to all of us we’re excited for him to have this.”
The Dodgers will open the season Thursday, March 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 7pm EST.