Dodgers 25-Man Roster: More Thoughts About the Starting Rotation Competition

Heading into the weekend, skipper Dave Roberts insisted that the battle for the final two spots in the Dodgers‘ starting rotation remained open to four pitchers — Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood and Scott Kazmir. However, after Kazmir’s attempt to gain leverage in the race by facing the Rangers on Sunday, it’s probably safe to assume the competition has been narrowed to three.

The original plan was for Kaz to take a stab at lasting a full five innings, but in the end, the veteran southpaw was only able to endure three frames of work while throwing 66 pitches. In all, he allowed three hits, including a home run off the bat of Mike Napoli, and three earned runs. Kazmir also walked five batters, hit another and threw one wild pitch. And the worst part was that his heater topped out at only 87 MPH, mostly sitting in the 82-84 range. After his outing, he was seen in the Dodgers’ bullpen “dry” throwing — obviously trying anything possible in hopes of rediscovering his mechanics. At the end of the day, some type of stint on the disabled list seems to be certain for the lefty, at least at the very beginning of the season.

In the meantime, McCarthy, who now appears to have a stronghold on the No. 4 spot in the rotation, faced a much easier task on Sunday, trying to stretch his workload to a full six innings in a simulated setting on the back fields at Camelback Ranch. After the sim game, McCarthy will likely throw in one more shortened tune-up later next week to make his final preparations for the regular season.

Looking ahead to Monday, Ryu seemingly controls his own destiny in the battle for the No. 5 spot, as he will try to complete five full innings of work against the White Sox. So far during 2017 Cactus League play, the 29-year-old native of South Korea has thrown nine full innings over three appearances, surrendering only five hits and one earned run while striking out a total of eight opposing batters. If he survives Monday’s affair looking sharp and feeling healthy, he’ll surely get the nod over Wood, who appears to be destined to open the season as the headliner in the Oklahoma City rotation.

An important thing to remember about Ryu is that according to his contract, he can refuse any assignment to the minors or extended spring training. So if he isn’t headed to the disabled list for whatever reason, he’s pretty much guaranteed a spot on the big league 25-man roster.

Starting Wood at OKC makes sense, mainly because he has plenty of options remaining on his contract. Since he has already proven himself to throw effectively in relief, though, he could be an option for the bullpen, especially if the Dodgers decide to begin the season with an eight-man relief corps. But keeping in mind the injury pedigrees of Rich Hill, Ryu and McCarthy, it may be logical to have Wood stretched out as a starter, waiting for the phone to ring at Oklahoma City when a need arises on the big league roster. And that need will indeed come, perhaps sooner rather than later.

As for the remainder of the week, Wood will throw against the Reds and lefty Julio Urias will start against the Padres in split-squad games on Tuesday, while resident ace Clayton Kershaw will make his final appearance of the spring against the Mariners on Wednesday.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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Dodgers Spring Training Notes: Kershaw, Roster Battles, Injuries & More

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The Dodgers looked nice and ready for Opening Day yesterday in their game against the Texas Rangers. Clayton Kershaw went for his longest outing yet, and was dominant — he struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced in 92 pitches, allowing two hits and one walk. The prime time slot for the game last night showed MLB that its best pitcher he’s ready to go.

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All of a Sudden, the Dodgers Starting Rotation Doesn’t Seem So Deep

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For many fans of the Dodgers, it’s beginning to become an annual occurrence — overwhelming optimism about a stacked rotation in the winter, eventually turning into genuine concern about the prospective starting pitching crew as Opening Day draws near. What was once a highly talented staff extending to the rafters at Triple-A Oklahoma City now has a few gray areas even at the big league level.

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Dodgers Injury Notes: Corey Seager, Andre Ethier, Pedro Baez & More

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While last week’s injury report brought on a bit of concern from many fans of the Dodgers, the outlook for this week is much better, as the two-week mark before the season opener is quickly approaching and the projected 25-man roster becomes a bit more defined.

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Dodgers Starting Rotation: Progressions, More Predictions & Other Random Notes

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With the arrival of Opening Day now hovering right around the three week mark, much of the fan focus has steadied on the prospective starting rotation of the Dodgers, as each passing day seemingly has one small happening or event which somehow affects the future makeup of the pitching staff.

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Dodgers Injury News: Andre Ethier, Scott Kazmir, Henry Ramos and Corey Seager

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While the Dodgers survived the first three weeks of spring camp without any significant harm, a few potentially notable injuries occurred during the early days of March, three of which came to light in Monday’s contest against the Rockies.

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Dodgers Spring Training Notes: Puig, González, Seager, Romo & More

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We’re now a full two weeks into Dodgers spring training and we’ve had our first glorious bat flip. In Sunday’s game, Yasiel Puig sent one out of the park, and his bat flip was in mid-season form.

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Early Signs Could Be Pointing Towards Dodgers’ Opening Day Rotation Plans

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Five weeks is a whole lot of time. But even though there’s still more than a month of Cactus League play to help the management crew of the Dodgers answer questions about the club’s prospective 25-man roster, early revelations in camp may be indicating the current pattern of thinking when it comes to the team’s starting pitching hierarchy.

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Dodgers Roster: 5 Popular Storylines to Observe During 2017 Spring Training

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Baseball is officially back. Although a skeleton crew of assorted players from the Dodgers has already been at Camelback Ranch for some time, most of the pitchers and catchers began to filter into the clubhouse on Wednesday morning, while the remainder of the squad will report no later than Monday. The initial workout for the battery mates will take place on Thursday morning, and the first Cactus League game will commence at 1:05 p.m. on February 25 against the White Sox.

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Dodgers Starting Rotation: Scott Kazmir Poised for Successful 2017

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Considering the manner in which his 2016 campaign came to an undesirable close, many fans of the Dodgers were not overwhelmingly excited in November when starting pitcher Scott Kazmir chose not to opt out of his current contract and remain with Los Angeles in 2017. Yet after showing a few glimpses of his former successful self in the early portion of last season, Kazmir definitely has the potential to bolster and strengthen the Dodgers’ rotation if he can stay healthy and maintain consistent mechanics throughout the year.

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