With Opening Day now less than a week away, the Los Angeles Dodgers are entering the final stages of Summer Camp workouts and intrasquad games at Dodger Stadium.
Given the unique circumstances, it will take certain players longer to get up to speed. Such could depend on a variety of factors, including coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and potential injuries.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the process has gone about as smoothly as one could hope. “I would say exceeded,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the expectations he had for this stage in Summer Camp.
“I really didn’t foresee some of these starting pitchers to be built up where they’re at. I think that guys have been on their feet, we’ve played a half dozen games, there’s a little soreness but that’s about it so I’m encouraged.
“I think mostly I’m excited by the fact that the baseball world and world itself is different, but we haven’t heard a thing from players complaining about it. I think the focus is baseball and getting ready for 2020. When you come into this situation, you don’t know how it’s going to look or how players are going to respond.”
As for which group of players are ahead, Roberts had previously given an advantage to pitchers. “I think the pitchers might be a tick ahead, but the hitters are really holding their own and taking good at-bats,” he noted.
“If I had to pick one right now, I would say the pitchers are a tick ahead. But I expect that to even out pretty soon, especially with our guys. I think it’ll be even by the time we break (camp).
“It’s not as drastic as it typically is when we begin camp in the middle of February. Because these guys have been taking live at-bats over the last couple weeks, it’s prepared them more than in a normal situation.”
Mookie Betts, Austin Barnes share opinions of intrasquad games
Mookie Betts has enjoyed playing against his teammates in preparation of the regular season. “Yeah, absolutely,” Mookie Betts said of intrasquad games helping raise his level of focus.
“I think there’s a little competition there so that definitely helps. But I’m not sure that we’ll get the full fill until the regular season starts.”
Austin Barnes noted, “I think you get out of them what you make out of it It is definitely weird playing your teammates. Especially when you’re catching them and calling pitches. You don’t really want to go inside as much. We saw what happened with Muncy. Hitting people isn’t what we want to do.
“Such a big part of pitching is bouncing back and forth, but it’s weird calling those games. It’s definitely weird catching against your teammates and hitting against them.”
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