Spring training is in session and things are about to go full tilt for the Dodgers with games starting soon. Moreover, with the Cactus League season starting on Sunday, manager Dave Roberts was asked an important question… who gets the ball in game one?
#Dodgers Dave Roberts said Mike Kickham will start Cactus League against the A's.
— Kirsten Watson (@kirsten_watson) February 25, 2021
Doc named lefty pitcher Mike Kickham as the Dodgers starter to open spring training. Yes, THE Mike Kickham. The team signed the journeyman pitcher to a minor league deal only in January, so, life comes at you fast for Kickham. Roberts added that he expects “Kick” to pitch only one inning on Sunday.
The 32-year-old appeared briefly with Boston last season.
Through 44.1 MLB innings, Kickham has pitched to a 9.95 ERA with a 2.053 WHIP. His strikeout rate of 10.9 in 2020 was easily the best mark of his career while also seeing drastic drop-offs in velocity and spin rate. The Dodgers could be intrigued by his minor league numbers though, as he did put up decent enough numbers as recent as 2019.
Sunday marks the start of a 29 game Cactus League season for the defending World Champions. Real opening day is set for April 1st where the Dodgers open the season in Colorado against the Rockies. No joke.
With top prospect Keibert Ruiz still not in camp due to Visa issues, Roberts said that veteran backstop Tim Federowitz (in camp on a minor league deal) has moved over to the big league side to get more reps in.
Doc also briefly touched on Edwin Rios, who he said is “off to a good start” and added that he looks “more and more comfortable” every year. The slugger is working at third base and first base this spring.
Finally, Roberts said he has no plans to talk contract status with Corey Seager and does not expect the shortstop’s looming free agency to be a distraction.
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