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Roberts embracing 'rapport' of LA's batterymates

@kengurnick
June 15, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- As much as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said he dislikes matching up a specific catcher with a specific pitcher, he acknowledged on Saturday that he’s been doing that. For example, on Saturday night he had Austin Barnes catching Walker Buehler, a duo that has teamed up

LOS ANGELES -- As much as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said he dislikes matching up a specific catcher with a specific pitcher, he acknowledged on Saturday that he’s been doing that.

For example, on Saturday night he had Austin Barnes catching Walker Buehler, a duo that has teamed up for nine times of Buehler’s 14 starts.

“There’s a relationship and rapport I like,” said Roberts. “The battery, I guess there is a certain kind of trend that’s happening. There wasn’t a goal at the outset. I feel good with each one of our catchers with our pitchers. But with off days and playing time, I just think Austin really handles Walker well, not to say that Russell couldn’t or doesn’t. They’ve just lined up like that.”

Barnes also has caught nine of Clayton Kershaw’s 11 starts, missing two when he was on the injured list, and eight of Kenta Maeda’s 13 starts. Barnes missed two of Maeda’s starts when injured, as well. Meanwhile, Russell Martin has caught seven of Rich Hill’s nine starts and 10 of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 13 starts.

Roberts also acknowledged that the current rotation has Ryu lined up to start the Sunday before the All-Star break, which would make him unlikely to pitch in the All-Star Game. Roberts will manage the National League team.

“Right now, that’s the way it lines up. But things can change,” Roberts said. “I expect to see him in Cleveland. Any more than that, I don’t know.”

Worth noting

• Roberts said A.J. Pollock has resumed throwing to 60 feet after the PICC line was removed from his left arm. He said Pollock reported the right elbow, which he had surgery on, felt better than Pollock expected. He might begin swinging a bat in the next few days.

Roberts added that Scott Alexander resumed playing catch on Saturday.

Alex Verdugo joined the Dodgers training staff and representatives of the Ruderman Family Foundation, Taylor Hooton Foundation and Henry Schein Cares Foundation on Saturday at Dodger Stadium in an event to educate area youth about the importance of leading healthy and active lives.

The function was part of the 2019 National PLAY Campaign. Verdugo seemed to get as much out of his time as the youth did.

“They asked mostly [about] baseball, they want to know about Belly [Cody Bellinger], what J.T. [Justin Turner] is like,” said Verdugo. “But there were different questions, too. Like, how do you deal with negative stuff, with media, with feeling pressure.

“That was a good thing to explain to the kids. Yeah, you feel pressure, but you also know you belong here, so you find a way to calm down in that situation and just go play. I liked it a lot, it was really good.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.