PHOENIX — Shortstop Corey Seager might miss the Freeway Series to work on his swing in Arizona, while reliever Pedro Baez will likely begin the season on the disabled list, along with Josh Ravin, leaving the Dodgers thin in right-handed relievers.
Seager said he is recovered from the strained oblique muscle that has sidelined him from Cactus League games since March 4. But he said his swing is rusty and, barring a rapid improvement, he’d prefer to get extra at-bats in Minor League games in Arizona than play in the Freeway Series games against the Angels on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He still is expected to start at shortstop Opening Day.
“He doesn’t feel great mechanically, but his timing, that’s to be expected,” said manager Dave Roberts. “As each day goes on, he’ll get four or five at-bats. To get him in a Major League park is not a priority. To get him at-bats down here makes the most sense. There’s a possibility [he misses the whole Freeway Series].”
Roberts said on Sunday that Baez — who hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game because of a bruised thumb — needs to show he can pitch multiple innings. Baez on Friday pitched live batting practice and said he still felt some tenderness in the right thumb, which was bruised on a comebacker pitching live batting practice on Feb. 22.
“Pedro will do a live BP, I think tomorrow,” said Roberts. “How he responds is one factor. He pitched a lot last year, considerably more than he’s ever pitched in a season, and we’re going to be conservative with Pedro. If that means starting with us, great, if it means he’s delayed a little bit, so be it. There’s no drop-dead date with Pedro.
“There’s got to be a point where he can go up and down. The structure of our ‘pen, not only having a long guy but having a guy who can go two innings makes sense for us. That’s a marker we have to see.”
On Sunday, with Scott Kazmir starting the Cactus League game, Brandon McCarthy threw six innings on the Minor League side. On Monday, Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers against the White Sox in his continued bid to win a starting spot. Tuesday, Alex Wood will start against the Reds at Goodyear, while Julio Urias will pitch at Camelback Ranch-Glendale against San Diego.
Urias is likely to begin the season at extended spring training as the club wants to ration his innings early, leaving the fifth starter spot to be decided between Ryu and Wood.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.