Dodgers’ Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are on the mend

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw preferred to work in relative silence as he threw his final bullpen session before his 2019 debut.Rich Hill grunted and groaned his way through four simulated innings at Dodger Stadium on Friday. Good, bad or ugly, Hill followed each of his 46 pitches with a primal moan that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the tennis courts of Indian Wells.You wouldn’t know if you were within earshot, but Hill left the mound feeling encouraged. Kershaw remains on track to start Monday. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who played long toss without impediment, didn’t appear too far behind his teammates. Friday was a good day for the Dodgers’ injured starters.“I didn’t feel anything. It felt great,” Hill said. “The ball came out great. Very good curveballs, fastballs, was able to shape my breaking ball better.” The manager had less incentive than usual to make a decision public. The Brewers started left-hander Wade Miley in Game 5 of last year’s NLCS, only to replace him with right-hander Brandon Woodruff after Cody Bellinger walked to begin the game.Roberts all but ruled out the possibility of an “opener” – a tactic the Brewers deployed against the Dodgers in the NLCS.  This strategy requires the first pitcher to record six outs or less, and another pitcher to record the plurality of outs in relief. Miley’s start in Game 5 was an extreme example.“You could” use an opener, Roberts said, “but with these guys, Cain hits in the 1, Yelich in the 2, and then they kind of flip-flop the third hitter. It’s really not ideal but you could do it. Yelich hits lefties. Cain hits righties. So this is not typically a team that an opener advantage is that beneficial.”ALSOCatcher Russell Martin (lower back stiffness) still hasn’t taken part in baseball activities since he went on the injured list Wednesday. … Max Muncy wasn’t in the starting lineup one day after a ground ball clipped his right index finger, causing swelling and a blood blister. Roberts said Muncy was available off the bench. … Three members of Jackie Robinson’s family – wife Rachel, daughter Sharon and son David – will participate in Jackie Robinson Day celebrations prior to Monday’s game against the Reds. Hill hasn’t pitched since spring training due to a left knee strain. He pitched to two minor leaguers and utility player Chris Taylor, and allowed two or three hits. (Since there were no fielders behind him, it was impossible to know for sure.) Hill threw an additional 15 pitches without a batter in the box, bringing his total to 61 pitches.The left-hander will make a four-inning rehab start in five or six days, Manager Dave Roberts said. The location is to be determined. Triple-A Oklahoma City begins a homestand next Tuesday. Double-A Tulsa and advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga begin homestands Thursday.Hill threw with a brace wrapped around his left knee. That will continue, he said, once he begins pitching in games. The brace holds one positive side effect when he throws sidearm, which Hill called a “silver lining.”“It forces me to throw the ball a little more correctly instead of getting out of sync with where my release point is,” he said. “The quality of the pitch is way better.”Speaking of silver linings, Ryu is expected to throw a bullpen in the coming days after straining his left groin Tuesday against the Cardinals. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “It’s probably been a best-case scenario since what transpired that first game in St. Louis,” Roberts said.GRANDAL RETURNSYasmani Grandal returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time since he signed a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Grandal, who played 510 games for the Dodgers from 2015-18, received his National League championship ring. The catcher was greeted with a brief tribute video prior to his first plate appearance, eliciting mostly loud applause.“This is like coming back home,” Grandal said. “When hitting early BP, seemed like I was hitting at home. Only difference is I’m going to be in the other dugout.”It was an interesting about-face. The Dodgers dispatched the Brewers in a seven-game NLCS last October, though Grandal barely played after struggling to hit during the Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.He was benched in favor of Austin Barnes for all but two games in the NLCS. Grandal went 2 for 11 with six strikeouts in the series. He also committed two passed balls, an error, and a catcher’s interference in Game 2 alone.The Dodgers tendered Grandal a qualifying offer after the season, but he declined. Milwaukee gave him a one-year contract with a 2020 option that will pay a minimum of $18.25 million.“I knew they were going to make a qualifying offer,” Grandal said. “Besides a game, it’s a business, and they didn’t want to lose a draft pick. I also knew that there are other guys here who need to get their shots to play. Barnes has been up here for a while, and you have (Will) Smith and (Keibert) Ruiz in the minor leagues, a lot of guys who I worked with who I believe can do really good in the big leagues. Those guys need to get their shot at the big leagues. I was in their shoes not too long ago in San Diego.“I knew they believed in those guys and they need an opportunity to play, so knew there wasn’t going to be too much contact. I was prepared for that.”OPENING ACTRoberts still had not named Saturday’s starting pitcher when he addressed reporters prior to Friday’s game. The Dodgers will either rely on a “bullpen game” – using their existing relief pitchers to record 27 outs – or recall a starting pitcher from the minor leagues.Related Articleslast_img

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