Dodgers News: Andrew Friedman Expects Kenta Maeda To Grow Comfortable With Pitching In Majors
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After not signing any of the marquee free-agent starting pitchers who were available during the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers unsurprisingly were involved in the Kenta Maeda sweepstakes.

Los Angeles and Maeda agreed to an eight-year, $25 million contract last December in a deal that’s loaded with plenty of incentives. The Japanese native was among the pitchers to officially report for Spring Training on Friday, though Maeda had already familiarized himself with Camelback Ranch.

On Tuesday, Maeda threw a bullpen session at the Dodgers’ Spring Training facility, with Yasmani Grandal catching.

This spring will be an adjustment for the 27 year old, as he is accustomed to pitching in the Japanese league where pitchers throw once a week as opposed to once every five days in the Majors.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged it’s an adjustment Maeda will need to make and noted the club is involved in easing that process.

“It’s certainly something every pitcher who has come over has had to deal with it. We’ve looked into it and had different conversations. I know (Dodgers pitching coach) Rick Honeycutt and Kenta are starting that dialogue,” Friedman said.

“Kenta, to his credit, wants to do things very similarly to how guys do it here. But, there may be a little bit of a transition process. Obviously, the time between starts is very different, and what you do the day after will change. It’s helping kind of educating him with some of our guys do so he can adopt his own program, which I think will take some time to figure out.”

Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings in eight seasons with the Hiroshima Carp. Clayton Kershaw and Grandal were among those who spoke about the right-hander with enthusiasm.

Along with Scott Kazmir, the Dodgers are leaning on Maeda to be part of the improved depth in the starting rotation and help offset the production lost with Zack Greinke now in Arizona.