GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In his first media session of Spring Training on Thursday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he has “eight, possibly nine” starting pitchers from which to choose. Doing the math, Dustin May already seems on the bubble.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the club’s No. 2-ranked prospect, who made the postseason roster last October as a 22-year-old reliever. But it’s a combination of roster depth, his tender age and the Dodgers’ history with young starters that indicate a likely “slow-play” methodology this spring for May, whose future remains as a starter.
Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler (in either order) top the rotation, with David Price an imposing No. 3 if his wrist is healthy. The fourth starter job is Julio Urías’ to lose, with the fifth spot up for grabs among Alex Wood, Jimmy Nelson, Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin.
May makes “possibly nine,” but if management’s kid-gloves handling of Urías and Buehler in their early 20s is an indication, May will start the season at Triple-A, where his innings can be managed so he’ll be fresh for the second half and beyond.
Roberts also said:
Joc Pederson, still a Dodger after his trade to the Angels was nixed, will start in left field against right-handed pitching, while A.J. Pollock will play against lefties. Mookie Betts will start in right field and Cody Bellinger in center. “There’s going to have to be sacrifices,” said Roberts. “That’s the only way this thing is going to work.”
Roberts stopped short of declaring rookie Gavin Lux the starting second baseman. “Right now, I don’t have to make that decision,” said Roberts. “See how it shakes out.”
Brusdar Graterol, sent home with a fever on Thursday, will be a reliever. He came over from Minnesota in the Kenta Maeda trade after the Red Sox backed away because of concerns over his shoulder. “From what I hear, the medical is sort of benign and it’s asymptomatic,” said Roberts. “We’ll manage his workload in the spring and see how he rebounds.” Graterol is 21, so he’s a likely candidate to begin the season at Triple-A as well.
Roberts said Kershaw is “in a very good place,” despite the way last season ended. “The great thing about great players is they are resilient. After that period of recovery, you get back after it. He’s healthy and I expect him to have another All-Star season.”
As the Dodgers prepapre for the 2020 season, here are the most frequently asked questions:
Pitchers and catchers report date
Thursday, Feb. 13
First pitchers and catchers workout
Friday, Feb. 14
Full squad report date
Monday, Feb. 17
First full-squad workout
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Where is the facility?
Camelback Ranch-Glendale, 10710 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Ariz. (shared with the White Sox)
Can fans attend workouts?
Yes, at the Dodgers' complex
at Giants (Scottsdale), Saturday, Feb. 22
First TV game
Feb. 22, SF at Scottsdale, 12:05 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA
One other notable game
The D-backs have been busy this winter, and the Dodgers play them in the fourth game of the Cactus League schedule, Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Scottsdale).
Last game in Arizona
Saturday, March 21, vs. the White Sox at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, 12:05 p.m. PT
Any additional exhibitions before the regular season?
The Freeway Series against the Angels is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, in Anaheim, and Monday and Tuesday, March 23-24, at Dodger Stadium.