The Los Angeles Dodgers held their second official workout of Spring Training 2.0 on Saturday, which gave Walker Buehler an opportunity to throw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium as pitchers work to both settle into a routine and prepare for the 2020 season.
Pitchers, specifically starters, were the position group Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he was most concerned with both during the shutdown and with how they would manage in needing to ramp back up.
“Just had to find ways to stay in shape,” Buehler said of the months between Major League Baseball cancelling the remainder Spring Training and Summer Camp opening. “Find places to kind of sneak into and work out kind of thing.
“I got a good support system at home and had buddies to play catch with me and things like that. Just try to get whatever you can get done, done. The toughest thing was not knowing when you’re going to be coming, so it was kind of hard to plan out exactly where you want to be.”
Buehler estimated he would need to throw another one or two bullpen sessions before he could advance to facing batters. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has previously outlined a plan to play intrasquad games, with those beginning this week.
“I think traditionally I’m a pretty slow starter,” Buehler noted. “I feel like I’m always behind everyone. I don’t know what it’s going to look like my first start of the year, but just get to where we feel comfortable and move on from there.”
Like Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner did on Friday, Buehler voiced his excitement with being back at the stadium. That’s despite new health and safety protocols MLB implemented in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There’s going to be adjustments made everywhere. I can’t pinpoint one thing that’s going to drastically change, but everything is going to change,” Buehler said of potentially needing to find a new pregame routine.
“We’ve seen that already being here a couple days now. Again, we’re excited to be here to play. So at the end of the day whatever adjustments we have to make, I think we can as a unit. I think we’ve done a good job. Nobody is really revolting against what we have to do. I think our team is pretty close and respects each other enough to keep it that way.”
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