The Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers will take the field at 12:10 p.m. PST for their first spring training game of 2023. Though LA fans knew Michael Grove would be on the mound, a number of other things were uncertain.
Would Miguel Vargas be ready to play after suffering a pinky fracture during practice this week? What would the outfield alignment look like in wake of all the offseason alterations?
Turns out, fans will get a pretty good preview of what's potentially to come on Opening Day. The Dodgers released their first lineup of the spring and there are a number of regulars in there, like Gavin Lux (SS), Freddie Freeman (1B) and Will Smith (C).
And then we got the newcomers! Vargas is ready to go. He's starting at second base and batting ninth. JD Martinez is debuting as the team's DH in the three-hole. David Peralta is getting the start in left field despite being signed just barely two weeks ago. James Outman will see action in center field and hit behind Smith.
Though Steven Duggar and Luke Williams getting the nods in right field at third base aren't anything indicative of the Dodgers' future plans, the rest will help fans start keeping track of important position battles and depth chart organization.
Dodgers release first spring training lineup of 2023. Miguel Vargas is starting.
As previously mentioned, it was unknown if Vargas would play on Saturday because he was unable to pick up a bat for most of this week after suffering the finger injury. He said he expected to be ready for the spring opener, but the fact he didn't swing a bat for that long led some to believe his debut could be delayed. Nonetheless, he's been shining with the glove at second base.
Another injury concern surrounded Peralta, who underwent offseason back surgery to repair a herniated disc ... which was something fans learned this week. That was a confusing wrinkle because Peralta is 35 years old and coming off two down seasons. Then again, with the shift ban and the fact he'll be used as a platoon option against righties, the Dodgers are confident they can get the most out of him.
And finally there's Outman, who burst onto the scene last season in limited action. In fact, fans wanted him on the postseason roster after he hit .462 with a 1.409 OPS, six runs scored, two doubles, a home run and three RBI in his first four career MLB games. Assuming he can hold down the fort in center and effectively replace Cody Bellinger one way or another, he should be a mainstay in 2023.
We'll have to wait to see Mookie Betts and Max Muncy as well as newcomer Miguel Rojas, but this first taste of action should kick off the season on the right foot and help answer a number of burning questions.