Dodgers Spring Training: Trevor Oaks Starting In Place Of Rich Hill Against Team Japan

The Los Angeles Dodgers will take a brief break from Cactus League play when they host 2017 World Baseball Classic semifinalist Japan on Sunday at Camelback Ranch. For Team Japan, the stop in Arizona is a tune-up prior to facing the Pool F runner-up at Dodger Stadium.

A recent change by the Dodgers in their rotation meant Kenta Maeda was no longer scheduled to face his fellow countrymen. After consulting with the Dodgers, Maeda decided against pitching for Japan in this year’s WBC, so as to put his focus on the 2017 regular season.

While Rich Hill was penciled in to start against Japan, he will instead pitch in a Minor League game, and the Dodgers will hand the ball to Trevor Oaks in the exhibition game, according to Ken Gurnick of

The change will allow for Hill to build up his pitch count in a controlled environment. The veteran left-hander went 3.2 innings in his previous starts, after back-to-back outings of failing to complete two innings of work.

Hill 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in four Cactus League starts, having thrown 8.2 innings. He’s accustomed to struggling during the spring, and other than looking to improve fastball command and establish a consistent curveball, isn’t much concerned.

Oaks is 1-0 and has thrown 7.2 scoreless innings across four relief appearances for the Dodgers this spring. He’s allowed eight hits and has seven strikeouts to just one walk. Excluding his most recent game, Oaks has gone two innings in each appearance.

He went a combined 14-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 24 starts last season during time spent with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. However, Oaks’ season was cut short — in August — due to a groin strain.