Dodgers News: Mark Prior In Favor Of Shortened Spring Training Games

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still very much ongoing, 2021 Spring Training will be a unique one for the Los Angeles Dodgers and teams across Major League Baseball.

One of the biggest changes will be that games can be shortened for the first week or two in order to better control the environment and due to limits on players that can be in uniform. Additionally, teams can choose to roll over innings throughout the game if their pitchers are throwing too much.

That will essentially create a Minor League environment in Cactus League games, which can actually be beneficial. “I love that. I’m biased as a pitching coach when it comes to scheduling,” Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior said.

“Usually we have guys on the Minor League side that we can pull and pull a lot of those guys in the first seven to 10 days. Because of restrictions with numbers, we don’t have that luxury, so shorter games makes it a little easier in not forcing guys to go out.

“Because a lot of guys we want to throw maybe two or three BPs — some of the older guys we know are on our team — don’t need to rush them in the 28th or March 1.”

While the focus is on this year, Prior hopes MLB will implement the changes moving forward. “Personal opinion, I hope it’s a change when we get back to some normalcy. Maybe that first seven or 10 games are seven-inning games,” he said.

“I think there’s some positives that might come out of this. The five- to seven-inning games, I think is going to be a nice feature. And I think being able to roll innings is something that I know is very uncommon here, but done a lot on the Minor League side. I think that’s going to help out, especially with starters trying to get their ‘ups’ in.”

Roberts explains reasoning for having fewer pitchers in camp

On the other side of that argument, having games that can be shortened in length means fewer opportunities for Minor League players to get action in the Cactus League, particularly for the pitchers.

While Cactus League wins can be entertaining, there is no doubt that the Dodgers’ only goal of Spring Training is to keep everyone healthy.

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