The day every Dodger fan has been waiting for has finally arrived. The Dodgers will take the field against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Cactus League opener today in Scottsdale. They’ll not only face the DBacks in their first Spring Training game today, but will also compete against them in their highly anticipated Australia series.
Clayton Kershaw is set to take the mound in this opening exhibition game and Brandon McCarthy is the designated starter for the DBacks. Notable players who won’t be traveling for the game today include: Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, A.J. Ellis, and Hanley Ramirez. With these regulars not in the lineup, this opens the doors for players competing for positions and younger prospects to take the field.
Chone Figgins, who swears the Dodger are going to get the player from Anaheim he once was, will showcase his abilities as a utility man at shortstop. Alex Guerrero will also be starting at second, despite the likelihood that he’ll start the season in the Minors. With Justin Turner playing as the DH and Dee Gordon most likely going into the game as a backup, Don Mattingly is giving his platoon options an opportunity to showcase their stuff.
Fans will also enjoy watching top prospect Joc Pederson take the field in center. Outfielder Scott Van Slyke will see the infield as a the starting first baseman. Also considering that regular players will likely have backups throughout these spring training games, Drew Butera, Miguel Rojas, Mike Baxter and Nick Buss will possibly see the field today as well. Kershaw will pitch two innings this afternoon while position players will play five innings before giving way to others.
This game has added excitement from the Diamondbacks lineup as former Angel Mark Trumbo will make his Spring Training debut batting fifth, two spots behind 2013 gold glove first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Today’s game is just the beginning of a series of 19 spring training games for the Dodgers where players will be able to prove themselves as worthy of one of 30 plane tickets to Australia. All of these players splitting time and filling in for regulars have a little more pressure to perform during these Spring Training games. Every at-bat and fielding opportunity means that much more when it could dictate a player’s invite to Australia.
Fans can catch the game on Time Warner Cable’s newest channel SportsNet LA which finally debuted yesterday. Although this new network has yet to make deals with other cable providers such as AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV, Dodger fans who aren’t subscribed to Time Warner are not entirely out of luck. Dodgers Radio on AM 570 will be broadcasting 15 of the 19 Spring Training games and you can listen in this afternoon.
Dodgers Starting Lineup:
1B: Van Slyke
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup:
ICYMI: Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax was struck in the head by a line drive during Spring Training