Graterol to miss Korea trip, but eyeing Opening Day

Hudson likely to earn roster spot in the midst of strong spring

March 10th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the Dodgers heading to Seoul, South Korea on Thursday, it’s becoming clearer who will and won’t be making the trip for the opening series against the Padres.

Right-hander , who was arguably the Dodgers’ top reliever last season with a 1.20 ERA in 68 appearances, will be one of the players that won’t be making the trip due to a hip injury and right shoulder soreness that has limited him this spring.

Graterol said he felt the hip discomfort during his first -- and so far lone -- Cactus League outing against the Cubs on March 2. The problem with the hip caused Graterol’s mechanics to get out of whack, leading to shoulder soreness.

“It’s just, with a lot of this stuff, [when] the lower half is not working right, it puts more stress on your arm,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I think for us, the hip feels better, the shoulder feels better. Now we just have to ramp him back up.”

Graterol said he will be doing some more throwing at some point this week. There’s not a lot of concern from either Graterol or the Dodgers, given this is something the right-hander has dealt with in the past. There’s still optimism that he’ll be ready when the team hosts the Cardinals on March 28 for the domestic Opening Day.

“I’m not going [to South Korea]. I think it’s a good idea,” Graterol said in Spanish, when asked if he’ll be making the trip. “I want to be 100 percent healthy once the regular season starts and everything that’s still to come.”

With Graterol not making the trip and Blake Treinen’s availability also in question due to a bruised lung that will keep him from throwing for at least 24 hours, the Dodgers have some openings in the bullpen for the two games against the Padres.

The club will get to bring 31 players to South Korea, but only 26 will be on the active roster. In that group, left-hander Matt Gage could be in the mix, but it appears that righty Daniel Hudson is the frontrunner to make the team out of Spring Training.

After missing most of the last two seasons with injuries to both knees, Hudson signed a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training this winter. Over his last few outings, Hudson has shown that he’s recovering well, and his performance has been trending in the right direction. Hudson also has a March 15 opt-out clause in his contract.

“I’ve seen the fastball command get considerably better over the last two [appearances],” Roberts said. “The slider is playing the way it should. The last [outing] was as good as I’ve seen it. It’s late. It’s sharp. So the last outing was his best. Each outing, he has gotten considerably more refined.”

Barring any last-minute injuries, the Dodgers will have Evan Phillips, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, Ryan Yarbrough and Alex Vesia in their bullpen. Gus Varland could also be in the mix as a one inning reliever, especially if Treinen is forced to miss the trip. Gavin Stone and Michael Grove, who are both in the mix for a spot in the rotation, will also be in the bullpen as multi-inning options behind the two starters, who will be Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The final decisions will come on Wednesday, according to Roberts. But it’s all starting to come together with three games left this spring.

• Freddie Freeman and Chris Taylor showed out offensively on Sunday, leading the charge in the Dodgers’ seven-run first inning. Freeman hit a two-run homer to get things going, while Taylor added an exclamation point with a grand slam.

• Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts are still getting used to their new defensive alignment, but the duo turned a nice 6-4-3 double play in the second inning on Sunday. Lux’s throwing concerns have been a topic this spring, but the 26-year-old had a good game against the D-backs.

• The D-backs had Cole Roberts, son of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, on the roster for Sunday’s game. Cole, a D-backs Minor Leaguer, exchanged lineup cards with his father before the game. It’s the first time they have shared the field at the professional level.