Blake Treinen hopes he can pitch this season for the Dodgers

Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen delivers against the San Francisco Giants in September.
(John McCoy / Associated Press)

Follow along for the latest news and analysis as the Dodgers open spring training at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix ahead of the 2023 MLB season.

Dave Roberts denies Dodgers cheating accusations, says MLB probe found ‘nothing’

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts meets with players on the mound during Game 3 of the NLDS against the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, center, meets with players on the mound during the fourth inning in Game 3 of the NLDS against the San Diego Padres on Oct. 14, 2022, in San Diego.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Dave Roberts hasn’t yet read “Winning Fixes Everything,” Evan Drellich’s wide-ranging book released this week that detailed the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.

But, during a scrum with reporters at Cactus League media day Wednesday, the Dodgers eighth-year manager flatly denied the accusations made in the book by various anonymous sources against his team for their own alleged sign-stealing transgressions.

“I’ve heard a couple little excerpts,” Roberts said. “To be honest, I haven’t thought too much about it. I’m not going to go there with that.”

The Dodgers were accused numerous times by sources in the book of engaging in their own illegal sign-stealing system during both 2017 — when the Astros used their infamous trash can system during their World Series-winning season — and 2018.

One allegation claimed the Dodgers set up cameras in center field of Dodger Stadium during the 2017 World Series that were connected to an iPad in the dugout, giving them the ability to decode catcher’s signs in real time and relay them to their hitters.

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Coming off shoulder surgery, Blake Treinen hopes he can pitch for Dodgers in 2023

Blake Treinen is hopeful of pitching for the Dodgers in 2023. But after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery to repair his right labrum and rotator cuff, the reliever doesn’t know his exact timeline for recovery yet.

“I feel like I should be able to come back this year at some point, I think it’s a very real possibility,” Treinen said. “It’d be really kind of a gut punch to me if I wasn’t able to.”

After missing most of the summer last season with a partially torn shoulder capsule, Treinen returned in early September with hopes of aiding the club’s postseason push.

Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen reacts after Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim pops up on Oct. 12, 2022, at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen reacts after Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim pops up to end the eighth inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 12, 2022, at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Instead, he suffered more shoulder ailments after just two big league appearances, forcing him to go back on the injured list and miss the rest of the regular season.

Treinen did make one appearance in the team’s postseason series against the San Diego Padres.

He said Wednesday that he knew prior to the playoffs that he’d need surgery in the offseason.

Now, he’s in the midst of a rehabilitation process that leaves his status for 2023 in doubt.

Treinen had his procedure in November, and was originally expected to need about 10 months to recover.

On Wednesday, he said he felt like he was potentially ahead of schedule, but needed to discuss his plan further with team doctors before knowing when he might be able to begin a throwing program.

“It sounds like it will probably be a couple of weeks before I can start doing something like that,” Treinen said. “But we’re certainly ahead of schedule from where I think they were kind of hoping I would be.”


Dodgers re-sign Jimmy Nelson to major league deal

The Dodgers are bringing back Jimmy Nelson.

The team has agreed to a major league contract with the right-handed pitcher that will pay him a base salary of $1.2 million and includes bonuses that could increase its overall value to around $4 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Nelson, 33, spent the last three seasons with the Dodgers, but made only 28 appearances in that time (all in 2021) because of injuries.

Nelson missed all of 2020 because of a back injury, then had season-ending elbow surgery in August of 2021 that kept him out for all of last season too.

The deal hasn’t been officially announced yet, but Nelson was at Dodgers camp Wednesday for the first day of official workouts.

A former starter with the Milwaukee Brewers, Nelson was effective in his lone healthy stint in the Dodgers bullpen in 2021. In 29 innings that year, he had a 1.86 ERA and 44 strikeouts.

This season, the 33-year-old could again bolster the team’s relief depth, perhaps in a multi-inning middle relief role similar to what the Dodgers are expecting from newly signed Shelby Miller.


SportsNet LA to broadcast all 30 of Dodgers’ Cactus League games

The Dodgers announced that all 30 of their Cactus League games during spring training will be broadcast on SportsNet LA.

The team will also have radio broadcasts of 19 spring training games on AM 570, and nine Spanish-language broadcasts on 1020 AM.

The spring games on SNLA will be called by Tim Neverett and Rick Monday.

The Dodgers open their spring schedule on Feb. 25 against the Milwaukee Brewers.


Will Dodgers pick a closer, center fielder? Five spring-training story lines to watch

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts jogs past the rest of the team as he is introduced before game one of the NLDS
Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts is introduced before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Exactly four months removed from their calamitous elimination in last year’s postseason, the Dodgers will begin a new trek that they hope will end differently come this October.

Despite significant roster turnover, questions at several key positions and the likely influx of a younger core over the course of 2023, the Dodgers still enter this new season with World Series expectations.

Both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs project the team to finish atop the National League West standings (the latter, albeit, in a tie with the San Diego Padres). Most oddsmakers give them the shortest odds of winning the NL pennant. And anything short of a championship is likely to feel like a failure for a franchise with just one World Series title from its 10-year-playoff streak.

“When you wear the Dodger uniform,” manager Dave Roberts said, “that’s the bar.”

With the team opening camp Wednesday in Arizona, here are five things to watch this spring.

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Is rookie Miguel Vargas’ dynamic bat worth making risky infield move? Dodgers think so

Los Angeles Dodgers' Miguel Vargas is seen during batting practice prior to Game 1 of a National League Division Series.
Miguel Vargas takes part in batting practice before Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Diego Padres in October.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

A new rule banning infield shifts will require big league second basemen to cover far more ground than they have for the past decade or so, when teams regularly positioned three infielders on the right side against left-handed hitters.

That could make it risky for a team with World Series aspirations to entrust the position to a rookie who made only 27 starts at second base in five minor league seasons and is not considered an elite defender at his primary spot — third base.

But it won’t deter the Dodgers, who will open spring training in Phoenix this week with highly touted prospect Miguel Vargas, the best pure hitter in their farm system, penciled in at second base, Gavin Lux taking over at shortstop and erstwhile utility player Max Muncy manning third.

Only veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman will return in the same spot he played last season, the winter free-agent departures of shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Justin Turner leading to some major turnover in the infield.

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Friendship with Mookie Betts wasn’t only factor in J.D. Martinez signing with Dodgers

J.D. Martinez hits a three-run home run for the Boston Red Sox in October.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

The relationships with former teammate Mookie Betts and old hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc certainly helped.

But in the end, J.D. Martinez said his decision to sign with the Dodgers — on a bargain one-year, $10-million contract, no less — came down to an even simpler, more singular reason.

“I’m in a part of my career where I just want to win,” the Dodgers new designated hitter said Wednesday night, speaking publicly for the first time since his offseason arrival at a charity bowling event Betts was hosting in downtown Los Angeles.

“I didn’t want to be on a team that was gonna be rebuilding. I didn’t want to be on a team that was trying to see where [it was] going, [that] didn’t know where we were gonna be,” Martinez added. “I wanted to be on a team that is going to be in the running, that is gonna be right there come October. That was my main thing. That was literally my main focus.”

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Dodgers aim to avoid ‘volatility’ of roster changes after understated offseason

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts watches batting practice during a team workout on Oct. 7.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Dave Roberts brushed off the suggestion with a laugh.

No, the Dodgers manager won’t be making another World Series guarantee for his team this season, he said when asked at the club’s FanFest event last weekend.

“I’m not going to do that,” Roberts smirked, almost a year removed from making a similar declaration last spring.

“But again,” Roberts added, “I still expect to win the World Series. I do. And I don’t think that there’s anybody that’s a part of our organization or fan base that doesn’t feel that same way.”

Indeed, the Dodgers’ aim for 2023 is no different from years past. Their window as championship contenders remains firmly swung open.

But after an offseason marked by extensive roster turnover and understated acquisitions, there are new obstacles littering their pathway to October — fraught with as many potential pitfalls as they’ve seemingly faced in years.

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How bowling has become a ‘second home’ for Dodgers’ Mookie Betts in the offseason

A man in shaded glasses with a green hat holds a green bowling ball in one hand behind him in a bowling alley.
Mookie Betts of the Dodgers participates in a charity bowling event he hosted at L.A. Live earlier this month.
(Los Angeles Dodgers)

When event organizers were reviewing the list of participants for last week’s annual U.S. Open of bowling, one name caught their attention.

No one from the United States Bowling Congress, which runs the national championship, had expected to see it. But no one in the bowling world, which converged on the Indiana-based event that serves as one of five majors in the sport, was surprised by the entrant either.

Mookie Betts — Encino, CA.

“He entered just like any of our other members would have,” said Chad Murphy, executive director of the USBC. “We didn’t really see him in the beginning as Mookie Betts, the baseball player. He was just a USBC member who was eligible to compete.”

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How might another luxury tax bill affect the Dodgers’ future?

A man in a blue shirt with a blue Dodgers logo behind him talks with a microphone in front of him.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, says the team could face another luxury tax bill for 2023.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

One of the biggest questions of the Dodgers’ offseason finally has a definitive answer.

Will the team stay below Major League Baseball’s luxury tax threshold in 2023?

No, club president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed Wednesday, probably not.

The news didn’t come as much of a surprise. While there appeared to be an opportunity at the start of the winter for the Dodgers to keep their payroll next season below MLB’s $233-million tax threshold, that possibility all but vanished in late December with the reduction of Trevor Bauer’s suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

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