Dodgers get sharp outings from Noah Syndergaard, Julio Urías in 7-1 loss to Reds
PHOENIX — Noah Syndergaard didn’t light up the radar gun in his first Dodgers spring training game on Tuesday, topping out at 93 mph with his fastball during the team’s 7-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
However, the right-hander still completed two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit while striking out two and showing good feel for his slider and changeup.
“I thought he was good,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought he threw some good breaking balls. I thought the fastball had some life in the zone. It seemed like he was comfortable with his delivery. So positive there.”
Syndergaard acknowledged he was expecting more velocity behind his fastball, which averaged more than 94 mph last year but used to be in the upper 90s before he had Tommy John surgery in 2020.
“But it’s just motivation to keep on working,” he said. “Not too worried about it. I know it’s still in there.”
Julio Urías started the game with a sharp outing of his own, pitching 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts in his continued prep for the World Baseball Classic.
Urías said he will make one more spring appearance for the Dodgers prior to the WBC. Then, he is tentatively scheduled to pitch in Team Mexico’s tournament-opener against Colombia on March 11.
“Obviously I have to work a little bit to get ready for the Classic,” Urías said through an interpreter. “But it’s all been the same [routine as springs past]. Just a lot of work, a lot of emphasis on getting ready for that.”
Julio Urías and Noah Syndergaard slated to pitch in first spring game against Reds
Two members of the Dodgers starting rotation will take the mound Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, with Julio Urías and Noah Syndergaard each slated to pitch a couple innings in the Dodgers game at Camelback Ranch.
The Dodgers likely new starting shortstop, Miguel Rojas, will also play. Rojas left a game early Sunday with a calf cramp, but said the issue cleared up on Monday.
Here is the Dodgers full lineup:
Gavin Lux has a torn ACL, expected to miss 2023 season
PHOENIX — The Dodgers are in need of a new shortstop. Again.
Gavin Lux has suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, manager Dave Roberts announced Tuesday, that is expected to keep Lux out for the season.
“Gavin is obviously crushed,” Roberts said. “It’s a huge blow.”
Lux will have surgery on March 7 and will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, per a team official. Roberts said in addition to the torn ACL, Lux had some other “lateral” damage in his knee.
The news came a day after Lux sustained his injury, when his knee buckled in a spring training game against the San Diego Padres.
Gavin Lux leaves spring game with right knee injury
PEORIA — Gavin Lux left the Dodgers spring training game Monday with what appeared to be a painful right knee injury.
The Dodgers shortstop was running from second base to third base in the top of the sixth inning when his knee buckled and sent him tumbling to the ground. Lux appeared to be trying to avoid a throw before he went down, slightly ducking just before his knee gave way.
Lux was down for several minutes before leaving the game on a golf cart.
The Dodgers did not immediately have any additional information on the injury.
Reunion of former Red Sox before Dodgers-Padres game
Prior to first pitch at Peoria Stadium today, there was a reunion of former Red Sox members from Boston’s 2018 World Series winning team.
As the Dodgers and Padres were warming up, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez greeted new Padres signing and former Red Sox teammate Xander Bogaerts behind the infield.
Moments later, two other members of that Red Sox on-field staff, Ron Reineke and J.T. Watkins (both now with the Dodgers), joined them for a picture.
Dave Roberts looking forward to race with Padres, Manny Machado this year
PEORIA — Monday’s game won’t count in the standings.
But it will be the first of many this year between the Dodgers and Padres, the two favorites in the National League West entering 2023.
“It’s good obviously to get a chance to see those guys, and let some of their guys see us,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Our guys are looking forward to it.”
Indeed, both teams fielded relatively strong lineups for their first Cactus League meeting. That includes Padres third baseman Manny Machado, playing his first game since agreeing to an 11-year, $350 million extension with the club over the weekend.
“I’m very happy for Manny,” said Roberts, who managed Machado during his half-season with the Dodgers in 2018.
“I love Manny. I love the way he plays the game. Heck of a baseball player. And yeah, we’re gonna have to deal with him for as far as we can see out. So I think it’s good for baseball. [Padres owner Peter] Seidler, spending money, getting the right guy to build around, good move. And now we just got to figure out how to get him out.”
Asked if Roberts, a former Padres bench coach, knew Seidler had this much money to spend, following an offseason in which the Padres stuck lucrative deals with Xander Bogaerts and Yu Darvish, Roberts smirked.
“I did not,” he said.
Seidler’s spending has thrust the Padres into title contention this season, making them a trendy pick to win the NL West over the Dodgers.
And after Monday (and another spring meeting at Camelback Ranch on Mar. 6), they’ll have 13 cracks at each other during the regular season — plus, potentially, another possible postseason encounter after the Padres’ NLDS triumph last October.
“They’re a heck of a ball club, they’ve done a lot of good things,” Roberts said. “I think we’re gonna have this conversation all year long.”
Cubs hoping they can get the right numbers from Cody Bellinger
MESA, Ariz. — The next chapter in Cody Bellinger’s professional baseball career began Saturday with a mistake as he walked to the plate for his first at-bat as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
“Number 35,” the public address announcer bellowed at Sloan Park, “Cody Bellinger!”
The problem: Bellinger isn’t No. 35 anymore. That was his number with the Dodgers. Those days are over. He’s No. 24 now. The blue is a little different. There’s a little more red. He’s playing for a team without World Series expectations for the first time in his career, but the pressure to recapture his All-Star form remains.
Mookie Betts, Jason Heyward to make spring debuts Monday against Padres
PHOENIX — Mookie Betts and Jason Heyward will play their first Cactus League games of the spring on Monday, when the Dodgers travel to Peoria to face the San Diego Padres.
Miguel Vargas is also in the lineup, and has begun swinging a bat again after suffering a hairline fracture in his pinky last week, but said he won’t be taking any swings in the game — just like on Saturday when he kept the bat on his shoulder in both of his plate appearances.
Monday’s first pitch is at 12:10 p.m. PT.
Ryan Pepiot will be on the mound for the Dodgers on Monday, the first of several notable pitching probables this week.
On Tuesday, both Julio Urías and Noah Syndergaard are slated to throw two innings in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. On Wednesday, Dustin May and Gavin Stone will throw in a road game against the Texas Rangers.
Dodgers give pitch clock, other new rules rave reviews after spring opener
PHOENIX — The pitch was a ball before it even started toward the plate.
During their first spring training game Saturday, in a full count with David Peralta at bat in the second inning, the Dodgers encountered one of Major League Baseball’s new rules for the first time.
Though Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Alex Claudio misfired on what would have been ball four anyway, home plate umpire Jim Wolf rose up, flashed four fingers and pointed at his watch.
Claudio, he ruled, hadn’t begun his delivery before the expiration of MLB’s newly introduced pitch clock.
Will Smith impresses with long home runs during live BP
Will Smith was the star of Sunday’s live batting practice, hitting two towering home runs off Evan Phillips and Jimmy Nelson.
Smith’s drives were so impressive that, when he only flied out to deep center in his third at-bat against Caleb Ferguson, assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness laughed and put a fist in the air.
“We got you out!” he joked.
Nelson’s live BP outing was nonetheless a positive step for a pitcher who has missed most of the last three years with injuires.
Here is some video of session:
Dodgers roster outlook: Why most spring competitions already seem settled
For all the focus on their offseason roster turnover, and for all the talk of new arrivals and open competitions coming into the spring, the Dodgers’ opening day team seems surprisingly settled with Cactus League games having just started.
Their starting rotation is crystal clear. Their infield looks locked into place, as well.
Playing time in the outfield is up for grabs, but probably only between five players who have separated themselves from the pack.
Even the bullpen lacks much preseason intrigue, with the core of the group set and the closer role unlikely to be filled — or so the Dodgers have said, at least — by the end of camp.
Though manager Dave Roberts maintained “there’s still things to be determined,” he quickly added: “I think our guys understand the landscape of our roster and how it potentially could shake out.”
Miguel Rojas exits game with cramp but says he’s OK
Miguel Rojas left the Dodgers spring game Sunday with a right foot and calf cramp after limping into first base on a third-inning single.
Rojas appeared to tighten up just as he was running out of the batter’s box. Upon reaching first base, he bent over to try and stretch his leg out.
The Dodgers ultimately decided to remove Rojas from the game as a precautionary, but he told reporters later that he believes he’ll be fine by Monday.
“This has happened to me in the past,” Rojas said. “First game, trying to go through it, trying to be careful. But this is something that always kind of gets me.”