Spring Training Preview: Cody Bellinger Returns To Dodgers Lineup; Walker Buehler Takes Mound Against Athletics
Cody Bellinger, 2020 Spring Training
Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue Cactus League play on Thursday afternoon with a trip to Mesa to take on the Oakland Athletics.

While many of the Dodgers’ regulars are getting the day off after playing Wednesday night, the game will feature two of their bright young stars in Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler.

Bellinger returns to the lineup after missing a couple of days due to a knot in his back. He is now healthy and back on the field, where he is hitting .308/.357/.462 in five games this spring.

Buehler is making his second start of the spring after tossing two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies last week.

The 25-year-old is one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball, going 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 1.04 WHIP with 215 strikeouts and 37 walks in 182.1 innings across 30 starts in 2019. He will likely throw three innings and then get in some more work in the bullpen on Thursday.

Kenley Jansen, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, Adam Kolarek and Brett de Geus are all scheduled to throw after Buehler against an Oakland lineup that features a lot of their regulars such as Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.

Getting the start on the mound for the Athletics is Mike Fiers, whose name has been in the news a lot this offseason after outing the Houston Astros for electronic sign-stealing during their 2017 World Series run.

His focus now shifts to the field though as he makes his third start of the spring, and the first two haven’t been pretty. The right-hander has allowed four hits and five earned runs in four innings, striking out two and walking three in Cactus League play.

Fiers is coming off a solid season though in which he went 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA, 4.97 FIP and 1.19 WHIP with 126 strikeouts and 53 walks in 184.2 innings across 33 starts.

Dodgers prospect Zach McKinstry, who has been one of their breakout players this spring, gets a chance to start at second base in this one. The 24-year-old is slashing .444/.500/.944 with two home runs and six RBI in 10 games this spring as he works his way into the conversation for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Dodgers lineup:

SS: Gavin Lux
CF: Cody Bellinger
C: Austin Barnes
DH: Luke Raley
1B: Edwin Rios
LF: Terrance Gore
RF: Cody Thomas
2B: Zach McKinstry
3B: Devin Mann

Athletics lineup:

SS: Marcus Semien
3B: Matt Chapman
1B: Matt Olson
RF: Mark Canha
CF: Ramon Laureano
LF: Robbie Grossman
DH: Chad Pinder
C: Sean Murphy
2B: Franklin Barreto

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