Dodgers Travel To Mesa, As Roster Decisions Loom


The Dodger’s cactus league calendar is winding down and roster decisions loom on the horizon. The club must set their roster for Sydney by Sunday, and will be leaving for the land down under after Sunday’s Cactus League finale. We should know who’s going or not going to Australia in the next couple of days.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

In the meantime the Dodgers still have four cactus league games remaining on the schedule. Friday afternoon they will board a bus and travel to Mesa, Arizona to play the Chicago Cubs in a road game at the Cub’s new spring training stadium plainly dubbed  “Cubs park”. The club has a split squad tomorrow, and then they play at Camelback against Colorado on Sunday.

The club has miraculously remained relatively healthy this spring, (knock on wood), but there are a couple of injuries to go over before the club takes the field for this afternoon’s tilt. Matt Kemp continues to make progress in his attempted return from his myriad of injuries and rustiness. He’s played several simulated minor league, and intrasquad games. Apparently he was 0 for 19 in these simulated types of games. I guess that isn’t important. What is important is that Kemp is finally back to some kind of live game action. At least there is forward progress with him. The Dodgers are prepared to start the season with Kemp on the disabled list, and his return date is still unknown.

Speaking of forward progress, that’s what starter Josh Beckett is doing while he deals with a thumb injury he suffered after slamming the digit into a clubhouse door. All giggles and snickers aside, the veteran has told the Dodgers he wants to pitch through it and doesn’t want to fall behind in his schedule. It is important for a pitcher to keep getting work in while building arm strength. Beckett’s thumb has given him problems before in the past, and his last outing he was ineffective. If a pitcher can’t grip the ball, he’s going to have problems. This may be an injury that could seriously affect Beckett’s performance. The veteran all-star is still scheduled to pitch today. If Beckett is unable to start the regular season, Paul Maholm would likely take his rotation spot. Fortunately his spot in the rotation isn’t needed until mid-April. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see.

Meanwhile manager Don Mattingly returns to the club after leaving because of a death in the family. Bench coach Tim Wallach had been serving as acting manager in Donnie’s absence.

As far as the games go, the Dodgers are 5-8 in exhibition play I believe after Thursday’s 9-2 stomping from the Reds. I think it’s important to note that the offense hasn’t been doing much because the hitters are still far behind the pitchers right now. Most of the pitching staff seems close to ready, but the position players may need some more at-bats before they are regular season ready. I do know that these exhibition games are pretty meaningless and boring, and I’m ready for the season to begin. The club boards a plane for Sydney on Sunday.

(Hanley Ramirez‘s  monster shot)

Dodgers Lineup @ Cubs-3-14-14

Dee GordonCarl CrawfordYasiel PuigAdrian GonzalezAndre EthierJustin Turner 3BA.J. EllisMiguel RojasJosh Beckett

Josh Beckett vs. Kyle Hendricks

Game Time – 1:05 PM – T.V.- SportsnetLA