Phil Bickford Unlikely To Make 2022 Dodgers Opening Day Roster

The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Spring Training facing multiple questions with their starting rotation and bullpen.

One of those was answered when Clayton Kershaw was re-signed to a one-year contract, and more clarity came with manager Dave Roberts recently indicating Andrew Heaney and Tony Gonsolin would round out the Opening Day rotation in some order.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers face a significant void in the bullpen as longtime closer Kenley Jansen signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves. L.A. has multiple options to replace Jansen, but may initially prefer to do so by committee.

Should that be the case, Phil Bickford won’t be among the relief pitchers Roberts can call on during the early stages. According to Juan Toribio of, Bickford dealt with arm soreness and won’t be on the 2022 Dodgers Opening Day roster:

Bickford began the 2021 season with the Milwaukee Brewers but the Ventura, Calif. native found his way back to Southern California early into the schedule. He was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, who immediately optioned Bickford to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The right-hander struggled in the Minors but was nothing short of impressive upon being recalled by the Dodgers on May 23. He didn’t allow an earned run in his first eight appearances and after one poor outing in June, went another eight games without allowing an earned run.

“I knew nothing about him,” Roberts said last year when asked about the 26-year-old. “He has been one of the biggest joys of the season.

“He’s been a Dodger fan, he’s very grateful, he’s a hard worker, he’s got that edge. He’s a sweetheart of a guy, but when he takes the baseball, he’s a savage. Guys love him. He’s one of those guys that I don’t know where we would be without him.”

Bickford’s success continued into the postseason as he threw six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and collecting four strikeouts against one walk.

Dodgers bullpen outlook without Bickford

Roberts had previously suggested the Dodgers will carry more than 14 pitchers on their Opening Day roster. That stems from pitchers still being built up to a full workload and active rosters being expanded to 28 players for the first month of the 2022 regular season.

With Bickford’s unavailable to begin the season, it places more pressure on Brusdar Graterol, Daniel Hudson and Blake Treinen. The right-handers already figured to be prominent pieces of the Dodgers bullpen and in replacing Jansen, but their collective margin for error has further been reduced.

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