Spring Training Preview: Yoshinobu Yamamoto Makes First Dodgers Start

It is an exciting time to be a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as Yoshinobu Yamamoto takes the mound for the first time against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

Yamamoto’s start comes one day after Shohei Ohtani made his debut own Dodgers Spring Training debut and electrified with a home run in his final at-bat of the day.

Just like it was with Ohtani, the spotlight will be fixated on Yamamoto. Perhaps even more so, as some will have an extra critical eye on the young right-hander after the Dodgers gave him the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history before Yamamoto even threw a pitch in the Majors.

Yamamoto has already faced Dodgers teammates during Spring Training workouts, and the Rangers represent a challenge in their own right as their lineup has several regulars. Yamamoto had a 16-6 record, 1.21 ERA and 169 strikeouts last season with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

In the World Baseball Classic, he had a 2.45 ERA, 12 strikeouts, 0.82 WHIP and .160 batting average against across 7.1 innings.

Evan Phillips, Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, Daniel Hudson, Ricky Vanasco, Elieser Hernández and Kevin Gowdy are expected to pitch today after Yamamoto.

Gavin Lux is back at shortstop for just the second time this spring as the Dodgers try to work him back from his right knee injury. Lux has been fully cleared since undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and LCL, and largely is feeling healthy on a consistent basis.

Miguel Vargas and Andy Pages are in the corner outfield spots, but after the re-signing of Kiké Hernández it remains to be seen if either will break camp with the Dodgers.

James Outman and Max Muncy are both off to solid starts in Cactus League play, each batting .500 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.500 or higher.

Cody Bradford is on the mound for the Rangers for his first start of Spring training as well. Last season with the Rangers, Bradford had a 5.30 ERA in 56 innings pitched, but was very effective in the postseason with a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings.

Dodgers lineup

2B: Chris Taylor
SS: Gavin Lux
3B: Max Muncy
C: Austin Barnes
DH: James Outman
LF: Miguel Vargas
1B: Kevin Padlo
CF: Drew Avans
RF: Andy Pages

Rangers lineup

DH: Marcus Semien
RF: Evan Carter
LF: Wyatt Langford
1B: Nathaniel Lowe
C: Jonah Heim
CF: Leody Taveras
SS: Ezequiel Duran
2B: Justin Foscue
3B: Jonathan Ornelas

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