Spring Training Preview: Dodgers Cactus League Opener Vs. Brewers

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their 2023 Spring Training schedule with a matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

Michael Grove is scheduled to start with Matt Andriese and Bryan Hudson also expected to appear in the Cactus League opener. Grove is excited to be starting a Spring Training game for the first time in his career.

Grove is now in his third Spring Training with the Dodgers, and comes in for the first time with Major League experience after making his debut last year.

The right-hander appeared made six starts for the Dodgers in 2022, finishing with a 4.60 ERA that was somewhat inflated after allowing four runs to the Colorado Rockies in his final appearance.

The Brewers are giving their start to Robert Stock, a veteran right-hander with 72.2 career innings pitched and a 4.71 ERA. Stock spent the first two seasons of his career with the San Diego Padres before stints with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.

The Cactus League opener is also the first time the Dodgers will see the new rule changes in effect, which include a pitch timer, restrictions on defensive shifts and larger bases.

The rules are designed to improve the game’s pace of play and increase action on the field after testing in more than 8,000 Minor League and independent league games.

The pitch timer is the most significant as a pitcher must begin his motion before the expiration of the 15-second timer, or 20 seconds with at least one runner on base. There will also be a 30-second clock for pitchers between batters.

Additionally, a hitter must be in the batter’s box with at least eight seconds remaining and they will receive one timeout per plate appearance.

The Dodgers have many of their regulars in for the opener, which is somewhat surprising for the first game of the year, but with the World Baseball Classic approaching, it’s important to get at-bats for some of the players who will be away from the team for the tournament.

Miguel Vargas is in the lineup despite a hairline fracture in the pinky on his throwing hand. Roberts said the issue would mostly be about pain tolerance, and Vargas expressed confidence he would be ready to go for Saturday’s opener.

It’s unlikely he will hit during his at-bats, however, as he has not been cleared by doctors to swing yet. Vargas will likely just use his plate appearances to track pitches and get a look at live pitching.

Dodgers lineup

SS: Gavin Lux
1B: Freddie Freeman
DH: J.D. Martinez
LF: David Peralta
C: Will Smith
CF: James Outman
3B: Luke Williams
RF: Steven Duggar
2B: Miguel Vargas

Brewers lineup

CF: Garrett Mitchell
SS: Willy Adames
1B: Rowdy Tellez
C: William Contreras
DH: Luke Voit
LF: Sal Frelick
3B: Mike Brosseau
2B: Abraham Toro
RF: Joey Wiemer

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