The Dodgers have begun to report to Spring Training, which means baseball is finally here! It has been a long and busy off-season. I have some good news to report, but also some bad news.
Adrian Gonzalez is dealing with tennis elbow, and will not bat for two weeks. “It’s tennis elbow from working out, too much hitting and boxing,” said Gonzalez. “I felt it while working out in early December and it didn’t seem like much, but it hasn’t gone away.
“They told me to take a few weeks off so it won’t linger and flare up and bother me going into the season. It’s precautionary. Better to take care of it now that six weeks from now.”
The good news with for this is that the Dodgers will get to look at Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger at first base. But of course, if Gonzalez’s elbow does not heal, it will be a huge blow for the team. Gonzalez is a 3-time Gold Glove winner, two of those times with the Dodgers. In 2016, Gonzalez’s home run rate was down, but his RBI’s were still up. He just stopped hitting in the air as much, preferring to beat the infield shift the opposing team would put on him.
Now it is time for some good news. Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and reported that he was 100%. He missed 2-1/2 months during the regular season due to a herniated disk in his lower back. “I’m doing good,” Kershaw reported on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m excited to give it a good test in Spring Training. But no worries or concerns for me.”
For more good news, we will focus our attention to Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu has only made one start in the last two years, due to surgeries and setbacks. On Thursday, Ryu threw a bullpen session where his pitches averaged 85 mph. Is that enough to make the lineup? No. Ryu will need to be able to throw faster than 85 mph, but it is a good start. Ryu pitched without pain, so there is hope.
The last thing I will report on today is about Kenta Maeda. Maeda has gained 10 pounds this off-season, but the Dodgers say it is all muscle. Maeda wants to pitch more innings this year. In 2016, he struggled the third time through the lineup, but he says the reason is that he didn’t know the batters. Maeda also added a cutter this year, hoping to add a pitch that will not tail back over the plate against left-handed batters.
Even with Gonzalez being injured there is good news, baseball has begun at Cambelback Ranch. The countdown has begun until the first game. If you cannot watch it in person, be sure to watch it on SportsNet LA. Until then, Go Dodgers!