In October 2013, after 25 years, Dodger fans were hoping and praying that the Los Angeles Dodgers would make it to the World Series. Even though the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, they were two games away from making it to the World Series before getting beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now that the new season is approaching and spring training has begun, the Dodgers are ready to continue where they left off, and to finish what they started. In Glendale, AZ, spring training began on Saturday, where the pitchers and catchers met up after a short off-season.
LHP and two time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw told reporters, that he is ready to go. According to an interview on the Los Angeles Dodgers website, Kershaw told reporters that every team has high expectations and hopes and dreams to advance to the World Series, but it is the team’s job to make it happen.
“My goal is to try to win every start and to go out there and pitch,” Kershaw said.
The Dodgers rotation also includes Zach Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Dan Haren. In a recent press release on the Dodgers website, the Dodgers signed left-hand pitcher Paul Maholm to a one-year contract. Maholm, 31, has a 4.28 ERA and a record of 76-95 in his last two seasons. He has played for the Pittsburg Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and the Atlanta Braves.
According to the press release:
“Last year with Atlanta, the Mississippi native won seven of his first 11 decisions and finished the season with a 10-11 record and a 4.41 ERA in 26 starts. Maholm allowed just nine extra-base hits to left-handed hitters, while holding lefties to a .226 batting average (35-for-155) with 35 strikeouts and just six walks.”
The Dodgers have acquired some pitchers to help their bullpen and they also might get back some pitchers who were not able to finish the 2013 season.
Along with Kershaw and Greinke there were some other pitchers who were ready to begin the 2014 season. One of those pitchers was right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett.
According to an article, posted on the Dodgers website, Beckett completed his first bullpen session on Monday throwing 30 pitches. Beckett is returning after having thoracic outlet surgery, where one of his ribs was removed. Even though, Beckett missed the last 4 ½ months of the season he said he wanted to remain a Dodger and he would be a reliever if they told him to.
According to the article, Beckett said, “”I felt they treated me really good through everything, and I feel like I want to repay that.”
He added, “I’m going to throw as hard as I can and see what happens. Right now, I feel great. I’ll throw the ball until I blow out and I’m hoping that’s not for a few more years.” Manager Don Mattingly stated in the article that it is up to Beckett’s health if he is able to play this upcoming season.
“It’s just if he’s healthy,” Mattingly said. “Josh throws the ball good. He’s been a quality pitcher for a long time and he still has good stuff. How he bounces back, we’ll see. We’ve had nothing but positive reports all winter. Josh has never been in the ‘pen [but neither has Maholm]. Obviously, it’s a competitive situation. We’re not handing anything out for anybody. If he’s healthy, we’ll see.”
If Beckett is not ready to return, the Dodgers will turn to Matt Magill and Stephen Fife to take the fifth starter position. Another pitcher whose season was cut short was Chad Billingsley, who had Tommy John surgery and will be in rehab, and is not expected back until June/July.
When it comes to the closers, the Dodgers did not let any of them slip through their fingers. The closers who will return for the upcoming season are Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez.
Positions players will start there spring training this Thursday, and the entire team will work out on Friday.