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Dodgers: Will Smith Talks Shortened Spring Training Impact on Pitchers



MLB players are excited to finally be at spring training after an extended offseason, but the truncated training period could have a big effect on starting pitchers. In a normal year, pitchers would have reported to spring training in the middle of February. This year, they’re a month behind schedule. In an interview with SportsNet LA John Hartung, Dodgers catcher Will Smith discussed his expectations for the starters.

“The pitchers are going to be a little more rushed. Starters are probably going to be behind once the season starts, but a couple weeks in, they should be full go I’m assuming.”

In other words, Smith doesn’t foresee catching seven inning starts from any of the Dodgers pitchers in the early going. Similar to the start of 2020, the Dodgers will likely be extra cautious with their starting staff.

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Smith talked about how the late start to spring training effects how he approaches his preparation.

“For me, I’m going to have to catch a lot to be ready for Opening Day and all that. It’s also managing the workload and not, completely burning my self out.”

At the moment, Smith, and fellow catcher Austin Barnes, are well-acquainted with the projected Dodgers starters. Lefty Andrew Heaney is the only new starter they’ll have to build rapport with – for now. The two backstops won’t have to expend much time building familiarity during their time at Camelback Ranch.

Smith also touched on the return of one high profile Dodgers starter – Clayton Kershaw. 

“I was excited he’s coming back. He’s basically the face of the Dodgers. He has been the last ten years. He knows what he’s doing, he’s great in the clubhouse, great pitcher and all that. I’m happy he’s back with us for this year.”

Smith and the Dodgers know that the season is a marathon, not a spring. The only thing that pushing your starters in April gets you in a season like this is injuries.

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