Dodgers 'very careful' with Buehler buildup

Right-hander to make intrasquad debut on Friday

July 17th, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Presumptive No. 2 starter will make his first intrasquad appearance with a two-inning outing on Friday night, six days before the 2020 season opens.

Buehler remains well behind other Dodgers starting pitchers in the buildup for the season.

Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Julio Urías and Ross Stripling have made multiple intrasquad starts, several of them up to six innings.

“All I know is Walker feels good and we’re going to be very careful while we continue to build him up,” said manager Dave Roberts, who earlier said if Buehler can throw three or four innings, he’d take it.

Roberts said Buehler backed off throwing during the three-month pandemic break without knowing when it would end.

Other notes
• Tony Gonsolin, who arrived late to Summer Camp, is scheduled to face hitters on Saturday, which virtually eliminates him from any chance at the fifth-starter job to start the season. Roberts said he still considers Gonsolin a starter, but his versatility makes him equally viable out of the bullpen.

• Wednesday night’s intrasquad game had two MLB umpires, pumped-in crowd noise, organist Dieter Ruehle, public address announcer Todd Leitz and DJ Severe for the walk-up music.

“I did feel that vibe, much more hype. To a man, the guys really enjoyed it,” said Roberts.

Roberts said the Dodgers haven’t considered an alternate location for home games, as the Nationals have done. Both clubs are dealing with more restrictive local guidelines regarding quarantining players exposed to COVID-19 than other cities.

“Until I hear more, I’m expecting to play all our home games here,” he said.

• Young catcher Keibert Ruiz was placed on the 10-day injured list with no club explanation. Ruiz has not reported to Summer Camp.

• Player/manager Kiké Hernández slugged a grand slam off young reliever Brett de Geus in Thursday night’s intrasquad game. AJ Pollock doubled in a run. Former Marlins closer AJ Ramos made his Dodgers debut. He hasn’t pitched in two years because of shoulder surgery. Kenley Jansen looked untouchable in his second inning since recovering from COVID-19.