Thor unconcerned by velo dip; Kershaw at full go

March 21st, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- All eyes have been on and the radar gun this spring, but despite not getting close to his goal of once again touching 100 mph, he has been very effective in Cactus League play.

Syndergaard came into Tuesday’s outing having allowed just one run over 11 1/3 innings of work and has drawn plenty of praise from everyone at Dodgers’ camp. In L.A.’s 12-1 split-squad loss to the Giants at Camelback Ranch, however, Syndergaard had his first hiccup of the spring.

The right-hander struggled with his command and allowed six runs over 4 1/3 innings of work. He was unable to finish a pair of innings, but was still allowed to complete his buildup due to the reentry rule in Spring Training.

Syndergaard said he had a hard time getting a grip given the soggy weather conditions, while he was also battling through a blister/nail issue for the first time this spring. He noted that he has dealt with minor blisters throughout his career and isn’t worried about it being an issue heading into the regular season.

“I’ve felt really good this spring,” Syndergaard said. “But this one felt out of whack from the beginning. But I was still able to grind through it, get my pitch count up and continue to get that workload up.”

Syndergaard’s fastball velocity was at 93 mph during the first inning and spiked occasionally throughout the start. But after the first, Syndergaard was mostly sitting 90-92 mph with the four-seamer, a few ticks below where he had been in previous outings. A likely cause of that was the cold and wet conditions at Camelback Ranch.

Overall, Syndergaard says he’s accomplished a lot this spring. It’s been his first camp with the Dodgers and he’s still trying to find himself as a pitcher in his second season removed from Tommy John surgery. He’ll have one more start, likely during the preseason Freeway Series next week, and then it’ll be time for him to show he can be a big part of the team’s rotation.

As of now, it appears likely that Syndergaard will start the Dodgers’ third or fourth game of the season behind , and .

“I just look around the clubhouse, and I see a lot of talent of all sizes and ages,” Syndergaard said. “It’s just humbling and an honor to be in this clubhouse and to put on this jersey and wear this color.”

Kershaw’s outing in Goodyear
Syndergaard wasn’t the only Dodgers starter that got work in on Tuesday, as Kershaw started in a 4-2 win over the Guardians. Kershaw has looked sharp this spring, but he hadn’t been getting the results he wants. On Tuesday, however, Kershaw got those results, allowing two runs over five innings.

“Physically, I feel great,” Kershaw said. “Pitching, it’s never gonna be exactly how you want it. Obviously, there’s some things I want to get better at. But if it started today, I’d be good.”

The Dodgers, along with every MLB team, will be announcing their Opening Day starters on Friday. Though not official or finalized, Urías is the most likely option for the Dodgers, which would slot Kershaw in to pitch next Friday against the D-backs. Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw is tentatively scheduled to start the exhibition game on Sunday against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, his last tuneup before the regular season.

Roster reduction
The Dodgers announced another round of reassignments, another sign the regular season is getting closer. Los Angeles sent right-hander , right-hander and left-hander to Minor League camp. Reed and Kolarek came into the spring as non-roster invitees and were in the mix for the last bullpen spot.

Stone, the organization's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was a standout this spring, striking out 14 of the 27 batters he faced in four Cactus League games while not allowing a run. Stone is expected to make an impact in the Majors at some point during the 2023 season.