By going to a Game 7 of the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros played to the last possible day of the 2017 season — Nov. 1 — and with changes to the 2018 regular season schedule, it’s making for a shortened offseason.
Dodgers players will report to Camelback Ranch for the start of Spring Training by mid-February, with their first Cactus League game set for Friday, Feb. 23. Considering the shortened winter and that the Dodgers are coming off back-to-back deep playoff runs, manager Dave Roberts intends to adjust accordingly.
“I think that we’re going to manage the load a little bit,” he told reporters during media availability at the Winter Meetings.
“Actually, I was talking to a couple people in our front office, and talking about certain players specifically, about kind of backing off those guys and getting them ready essentially the last week of [Spring Training].
“Guys like Kenley, probably slow playing him a little bit, and also on the position player side. They’re going to have the same report dates as far as position players versus pitchers, but once they get into camp, just kind of maybe put them on the backfield and take care of their arms.
“And the position players, just kind of monitor their at-bats, keep them off their legs a little bit more.”
In addition to Kenley Jansen, notable candidates Roberts is like to ease into Cactus League play include Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. While Seager is only 23 years old, he battled fatigue down the stretch of the 2016 season, and dealt with elbow and back injuries this year.
If there’s a silver lining for the Dodgers, general manager Farhan Zaidi confirmed Seager’s balky right elbow will not require offseason surgery.
The Dodgers will play 19 consecutive days before the first break — March 13 — in their Spring Training schedule. They have another off day March 21, then conclude the exhibition slate with six straight games.
Opening Day of the 2018 season for the Dodgers and all teams is March 29, marking the earliest start in MLB history.