Maeda ready to face first test vs. D-backs

Dodgers' new righty set for spring debut on Saturday

March 4th, 2016

PHOENIX -- Shelby Miller and Kenta Maeda, pitchers who figure prominently in their new clubs' chances this year, make their respective debuts as starting opponents Saturday when the D-backs meet the Dodgers in a Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.

The game will be available for free viewing on MLB.TV.

Miller is making his first start for the D-backs after the Dec. 9 trade that sent Ender Inciarte and two Minor Leaguers to the Braves, including Dansby Swanson, the Vanderbilt University shortstop Arizona selected last June with the first overall pick in the Draft. Miller, 25, is in only his fifth Major League season and was acquired as an apt No. 2 in the rotation behind Zack Greinke. Miller had a 6-17 record last season for the Braves, but could have fared better with a 3.02 ERA in his 33 starts.

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"Coming over here has been an easy transition for me," said Miller, who was traded by the Cardinals to the Braves in the Nov. 17, 2014, deal that netted Jason Heyward for St. Louis. "The second trade is easier than the first one. Since Day 1, I feel like I was brought up in this organization. It's easy to fit in and it feels like a lot of guys have been here for a while, and it's been easy for new faces like me and Zack to blend in. It's been great."

The Dodgers added Maeda to help offset the loss of Greinke. A star in Japan, Maeda signed a six-year contract, following Hiroki Kuroda and Hideo Nomo as former Japanese stars to make the move across the Pacific Ocean and test their skills with the Dodgers.

So far in bullpen sessions and throwing live batting practice, Maeda has shown a versatile four-pitch mix and the ability to pitch low in the strike zone. He also has shown no early struggles making the transition in training the Major League way.

"Overall," Maeda said, "I've adjusted pretty well. Nothing has given me trouble."

Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said Maeda reminds him of Greinke, because of a four-pitch repertoire that allows for creative game-planning against opposing hitters.