Dodgers come home with 24 of 25 roster spots decided

first_img Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Kiké Hernandez is proof of that. After four years as a ‘super-utility’ player, Hernandez might have found himself a home.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Saturday that Hernandez will be the primary second baseman with Taylor the man on the move, providing the right-handed half of the left-field platoon while filling in at shortstop, center field and second base.The Dodgers do head home with one roster spot undecided – the final bullpen slot. With Julio Urias and Ross Stripling in the starting rotation to begin the season, there is no long man in the bullpen. Roberts said Brock Stewart (who started Saturday’s Cactus League finale) and Dennis Santana (who started Friday) were “in the mix” for that spot, having been stretched out as starters this spring.Neither pitched particularly well in their auditions.“I would say internally right now as I sit here, Brock and Dennis are probably the guys,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game. “You’re expecting Rich (Hill) to be back shortly after the season starts, so to kind of have some length potential for a shorter time – those two guys make the most sense.”STAND OUTRoberts didn’t hesitate when asked which player had stood out to him this spring.“Dustin May,” he said. “Dustin May is probably the biggest standout. Much more advanced (than expected). Then just the makeup, his presence, the feel. Everything.”The 21-year-old May stands out naturally – he is 6-foot-6 with a burst of red hair that is earning him the nickname “Ginger Thor” (in reference to Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard). But he impressed Roberts with a burgeoning four-pitch mix that includes an excellent cutter and a nascent curveball.“It would be no surprise to me” if May or fellow pitching prospect Tony Gonsolin were seen in the big leagues at some point this season, Roberts said.May will be with the Dodgers for the Freeway Series and is scheduled to pitch at some point in Tuesday’s game.CINGRANI STATUSLefty reliever Tony Cingrani was shut down 10 days ago with a recurring shoulder problem and received a cortisone injection. He will remain behind in Arizona and should be cleared to start a throwing program at some point next week, Roberts said.There is no timetable for Cingrani to join the Dodgers at this point.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies center_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Verdugo’s spot became assured when veteran Brad Miller opted out of his minor-league contract Thursday and became a free agent, his prospects of being on the major-league roster having dropped from slim to none.“I didn’t even know, honestly, that it was potentially between us,” Verdugo said. “I didn’t even know so I wasn’t concerned at all. He’s a great guy, great athlete, great baseball player. But I just go out there every day with my approach, my mindset, and just do what I can control, not what he can.”With A.J. Pollock the everyday center fielder, Cody Bellinger the same in right and Joc Pederson the left-handed half of any platoon in left field, there is no clear path to playing time for Verdugo.“It’s definitely not what you want. You want to play every day,” Verdugo acknowledged. “How Belly was platooned last year – you want to hit against lefties, righties. You want to play every day. That’s the goal. But obviously the Dodgers do stuff slightly different.“If you play well like (Max) Muncy did last year, you can take off with a role. Just like with Bellinger the year before when (Adrian Gonzalez) got hurt and (Chris Taylor) did it as well. It’s really about what you do with it. If you take advantage of it and play well, they’ll put you on the field.” “I just think we’ve really got to take our time with this one,” Roberts said.Cingrani missed most of the second half of last season with the same shoulder issue.ALSOKershaw and Walker Buehler will throw to hitters in a simulated-game setting before Monday’s game in Anaheim. Kershaw will throw two innings and Buehler will throw five in his final tuneup before starting the fourth game of the season against the Diamondbacks. …The Dodgers’ starters for the three Freeway Series games will be Stripling (Sunday in Anaheim), Kenta Maeda (Monday in Anaheim) and Urias (Tuesday in Los Angeles). GLENDALE, Ariz. — The boxes were packed and the clubhouse all but deserted Saturday morning, the Dodgers’ final day in Arizona this spring.The Dodgers headed back to Southern California for the three-game Freeway Series against the Angels with their season-opening roster decisions almost all packed away as well.After two seasons in Triple-A and regular appearances in trade rumors, Alex Verdugo got the news that he would be on that roster when the season opens Thursday.“It was pretty good news right there, for sure,” Verdugo said. “I tried not to get my hopes up too high. I thought I had a pretty good chance of making it. It’s just good to find out.”last_img

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