The Dodgers will have to get used to another new normal in 2021. The funny thing is, it’s just an adjustment back to the same rules from 2019. The Universal DH made a brief pit stop in MLB last year, but will not be part of the plan for the National League.
Because of that, Dodgers pitchers will have to remember how to step into a big-league batter’s box again. Los Angeles has opted to utilize the designated hitter during Spring Training games so far, but there is a plan in place.
Dave Roberts said in his postgame press conference on Wednesday that Dodgers pitchers have been practicing sacrifice bunts on a daily basis. They will start to get into the batting cages in the coming weeks with the hope that they will get real at-bats within the next few weeks.
I think that third or fourth week, pitchers will typically get in there and sac bunts and take some at-bats. They’ve been working daily on the bunting, we haven’t got them in the cage yet but that should probably be happening soon as far as getting them swinging the bat. And then hopefully we’ll get them into a game in the next couple of weeks.
In a typical year, pitchers generally start getting 1 or 2 live at-bats in the last 2 weeks of Spring Training. The Dodgers obviously had to readjust the approach to that a little bit given they are coming off of a year with the DH.
The Dodgers will have a few guys in their starting rotation that can swing a bat. Clayton Kershaw hasn’t hit much over the last few years, but he was still putting good wood on the ball in 2019. Tony Gonsolin picked up 4 hits in his rookie year, and Walker Buehler has shown some power with his homerun.
Watching pitchers hit obviously isn’t ideal, but it could be fun for one more year.
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