The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day roster is set after manager Dave Roberts announced the final spot in the bullpen will go to Scott Alexander. The left-hander beat out Dennis Santana, who drew praise for most of the spring.
“Very, very difficult decision,” Roberts said. “We thought Dennis had a great spring and really impressed with his progress, command and all that stuff. There’s really no viable reason or answer.
“It’s just more of a numbers game. We just felt right now, Scott has earned that roster spot.”
Alexander and Santana put up similar numbers in Spring Training, as the former went 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA and 1.44 WHIP across eight appearances. Santana fared slightly better, posting a 4.32 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 10 strikeouts against one walk in eight games.
Roberts said the decision ultimately came down to best fit. The Dodgers wanted a third left-hander in the bullpen alongside Victor Gonzalez and David Price.
“Yeah, that’s part of it,” Roberts acknowledged. “They’re both talented guys, they both get left and right out. You can kind of dissect it any way you want, but right now we felt Scott fits better on our roster.”
In addition to the three left-handers, the Dodgers’ eight-man bullpen will include Tony Gonsolin, Kenley Jansen, Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen.
Santana is expected to be part of the taxi squad for the Dodgers’ seven-game road trip to begin the season. With pitching depth a big focus this season as teams transition back to a 162-game schedule, he undoubtedly will receive Major League opportunities at some point.
Santana attributed success to feeling healthy
Now another year removed from the significant shoulder injury he sustained in 2018, Santana believes being at full health led to his success this spring. “Every time I’m healthy I can show what I can do,” he said during a dominant stretch in spring.
“That’s what’s happening right now.”
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