Dodgers live: Freddie Freeman’s first news conference, Clayton Kershaw’s first start

Los Angeles Dodgers' Freddie Freeman speaks during an introductory news conference.
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman speaks during his introductory news conference at spring training in Phoenix on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Freddie Freeman speaks for the first time as a Dodger as the team plays its first spring training game. Clayton Kershaw makes his spring debut. Follow along for updates.

Dodgers pad pitching depth with more additions

Seattle Mariners' Tyler Anderson pitches against the Oakland Athletics during a baseball game in Oakland.
The Dodgers signed left-hander Tyler Anderson on Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

The Dodgers continued to pad their pitching depth Friday, announcing three more additions to their staff.

They finalized a one-year contract with Danny Duffy that is worth $3 million guaranteed and includes a club option for 2023 worth $7 million plus potential bonuses for innings pitched, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

They also traded outfielder Luke Raley to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor-league pitcher Tanner Dodson, and signed veteran left-handed starter Tyler Anderson to a one-year deal reportedly worth $8 million.

Dodson, 24, is a former 31st overall draft pick who reached Class AA in Tampa Bay’s system last year.

Anderson, 32, is entering his seventh MLB season and has a 4.62 career ERA. With the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners last year, he had a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts.


After being ‘blindsided’ by Braves, Freddie Freeman happy to be back home with Dodgers

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, left, shares a laugh with Freddie Freeman.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, left, shares a laugh with Freddie Freeman during the first baseman’s introductory news conference in Phoenix on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

PHOENIX — For most of his first day as a Dodger, a smile was planted on Freddie Freeman’s face.

Fresh off finalizing his six-year, $162 million contract with the team, Freeman arrived to the team’s spring training complex Friday early in the morning, wearing a dapper black suit and a glove as he walked into the facility.

He put on Dodger blue for the first time in the afternoon, taking the field in team athletic wear for a workout to a chorus of cheers from hundreds of fans.

Then, during an introductory press conference overlooking the stadium at Camelback Ranch, Freeman slipped into his new uniform, showing off the newly sewn No. 5 displayed across the back.

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Healthy Clayton Kershaw produces a solid start in Cactus League opener

Clayton Kershaw made his first spring training appearance on Friday (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw pitched for the last time as a 33-year-old Friday, blowing away the first three Milwaukee Brewers batters like so many birthday candles.

Kershaw started for the Dodgers in their Cactus League opener at home, throwing 13 strikes among his 21 pitches in 1 1/3 innings. Most importantly, he appeared healthy, showing no signs of discomfort in either his left elbow or back.

The last time Kershaw faced the Brewers was Oct. 2 in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale, and he walked off the mound in the second inning with an elbow injury that took most of the offseason to heal.

Besides uncorking one fastball over leadoff batter Jace Peterson’s head that careened off the backstop, Kershaw displayed decent command, throwing his fastball, slider and curve for strikes.

Peterson grounded out to second on a 1-2 count, Willy Adams grounded to third on a 2-2 count and Christian Yelich popped up a first-pitch high fastball to Justin Turner in foul territory to end the first inning.

Hunter Renfroe walked to open the second, with Kershaw leaving his fastball high twice. Keston Hiura hit a soft line drive on a 1-2 count to center field, where Cody Bellinger made the first diving catch of 2022.

Kershaw tipped his cap to Bellinger, smiled and acknowledged his wife and children on his way to the clubhouse, and called it a day, allowing him to prepare for his 34th birthday Saturday. The left-hander signed a one-year, $17 million contract a few days after the lockout ended to return to the Dodgers for a 15th season.

Kershaw said afterward that, while he felt his stuff “wasn’t great,” simply getting back on the mound in a game after his injury last year was a positive step.

Manager Dave Roberts took it a step further, saying he would have been “shocked” if someone told him at the start of camp Kershaw would be ready for the team’s first spring game.

“But with him,” Roberts continued, “you just know that he’s going to do everything he can to be prepared.”


Dodgers go with big guns in their Cactus League opener

The Dodgers went with their big guns — minus Freddie Freeman — to open the Cactus League. The lineup begins with Trea Turner and Justin Turner, followed by Will Smith, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger, Chris Tayler, Gavin Lux, Matt Beaty and Luke Raley.

Besides Freeman, who was busy at his introductory news conference, the only Dodgers regular not in the lineup is Mookie Betts.

And on the mound, none other than Clayton Kershaw.


WATCH: Freddie Freeman’s introductory news conference


Freddie Freeman arrives wearing a suit and glove

Newest Dodger Freddie Freeman arrived at the team’s spring training facility Friday ready to work.

Freeman, the long-time Braves star acquired by the Dodgers, wore a suit for his introductory news conference, but he also brought along a glove.


Dodgers rave about Freddie Freeman addition: ‘This team’s gonna be unbelievable’

Former Braves star Freddie Freeman catches a ball.
Former Braves star Freddie Freeman during a game against Cincinnati in 2021.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner found out on Twitter. Austin Barnes first saw the news on Instagram.

AJ Pollock was alerted by his childhood friends, texting him to find out if the reports were true. And Max Muncy was told by his wife, Kellie, who relayed the information from her phone Wednesday night while they watched TV.

“We just signed Freddie,” she said.

Muncy responded in delight.

“I was like all right, here we go.”

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Hernández: Dodgers show Freddie Freeman the love that the Braves wouldn’t

Freddie Freeman high-fives Adam Duvall
The Braves’ Freddie Freeman celebrates with Adam Duvall after hitting a two-run home run against the Dodgers during the 2021 playoffs.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

PHOENIX — Imagine Clayton Kershaw making 30-plus starts in a season. Imagine him becoming a free agent. Imagine him wanting to return to the Dodgers.

Now, imagine the Dodgers’ decision makers failing to make him a competitive offer. Imagine them trading for a younger and less expensive pitcher instead.

That’s basically what Alex Anthopoulos did with Freddie Freeman.

There’s a franchise more ruthless than Andrew Friedman’s Dodgers and it’s Anthopoulos’ Atlanta Braves.

The Braves make the number crunchers in the Dodgers’ front office look like baseball romantics by comparison, industry insiders questioning the sincerity of Anthopoulos’ tears after Matt Olson was acquired to replace Freeman.

I’m really curious: What was Anthopoulos thinking about to coax out those fake tears?

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Best Dodgers lineup ever? Five ways Freddie Freeman improves an already loaded team

Former Braves star Freddie Freeman celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run
Former Braves star Freddie Freeman celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Dodgers during the 2021 playoffs.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

PHOENIX — Well before the signing was official, Dodgers players couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the possibility.

Asked over the past week what the signing of former most valuable player Freddie Freeman as a free agent would add to the team, they voiced almost universal excitement.

“We’d be extremely dangerous with him,” said Max Muncy.

Echoed Trea Turner: “I think he would be a huge, huge pickup for us from many, many standpoints.”

Clayton Kershaw couldn’t resist the idea either: “I feel like we have a real chance to win with the guys in this clubhouse. With that said, Freddie’s a really good baseball player.”

The Dodgers will soon discover just how good they can indeed be with Freeman at the heart of their lineup, after the team agreed to terms with the former Atlanta Braves star on a six-year, $162-million contract, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The move comes with risks: The Dodgers’ projected luxury tax payroll is now up to almost $279.5 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts (that includes all of Trevor Bauer’s $34-million salary this year, which could be reduced if he is suspended), well past the third tax threshold and just $10 million shy of a fourth level that would trigger a new 80% penalty.

A team that once was wary of awarding long-term contracts now has two massive ones on the books, with Freeman locked up through his age-37 season and Mookie Betts through his age-39 campaign.

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