Spring Training opened a few weeks back, but it wasn’t until Feb. 26 that NL West teams began playing their Cactus League schedule. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who are 3-2, including a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, hold the best record among NL West teams and the San Diego Padres find themselves at the other end of the spectrum with an 0-3-1 record.
Plenty of time remains for teams to sort out their rosters and depth charts, which is of particular importance for the the Dodgers, who face a question mark at second base.
Here’s a look at the news and rumors from around the division:
The Diamondbacks big off-season acquisition, Mark Trumbo, continues to make progress towards becoming the everyday left fielder. Trumbo made the majority of his starts at first base when he was with the Los Angeles Angels, but Paul Goldschmidt has a firm grasp on the position for the Diamondbacks.
Trevor Cahill, who went 8-10 in 2013 with a 3.99 ERA, pitched well in his first Spring Training start on Saturday. Cahill managed to throw 3.1 innings with four strikeouts prior to the game being called early due to rain.
While the Rockies have only played two Spring Training games, one of them was an impressive 11-0 win over the Diamondbacks. With a group comprised of Opening Day locks and some competing to make the roster, seven Rockies pitchers held the Diamondbacks to two hits.
A point of emphasis for the Rockies in Spring Training is finding the best option for leadoff hitter. The spot is now vacant since the Rockies traded Dexter Fowler, who often served as the leadoff hitter, to the Houston Astros. Manager Walt Weiss will spend Spring Training evaluating a group of relatively unproven leadoff hitters for the slot.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The start of the Cactus League schedule has been bittersweet for the Dodgers. Carl Crawford and Zack Greinke each suffered an injury, though both aren’t believed to be serious and ace Clayton Kershaw was hit hard by the Diamondbacks in his debut. Manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday Matt Kemp was at step five of a seven step rehab plan, but an exact timetable for the center fielder’s return remains unknown.
For the Dodgers, the focus of Spring Training largely centers around finding a starting second baseman and remaining healthy. The team continues to ponder not using Kershaw in Australia and with Greinke’s calf strain, Hyun-Jin Ryu may be their Opening Day starter on March 22.
San Diego Padres
After finishing 16 games under .500 and next to last in the NL West last season, Spring Training has been nothing short but a carryover from 2013 for the Padres. Third baseman Chase Headley strained his calf while going through a drill and he is expected to be out two-to-three weeks.
Tommy Medica, a former top catching prospect is using his first Spring Training with the team to adjust to life as a first baseman. Medica appeared in 19 games with the Padres in 2013 and is hopeful he’ll take one of the final roster spots by Opening Day.
San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner, who’s been selected as the Giants Opening Day starter, threw two shutout innings on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Meanwhile, veteran reliever Jeremy Affeldt is taking a cautious approach in his recovery from off-season sports hernia surgery. Coming off a disappointing 2013 season, Ryan Vogelsong is focusing on bouncing back and pitching his way into the starting rotation.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Video