Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Michael Grove’s Future Could Be in Bullpen

Michael Grove’s first full season as a big leaguer hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. Yes, he made the opening day roster, but only as a third choice after the Dodgers lost Tony Gonsolin and Ryan Pepiot. Then he was pitching under the weather over his first few outings before a groin injury cost him a month. Since he’s returned from the injured list, his stuff has played up, with his fastball touching 98 miles per hour.

The problem with his starts is that he usually starts getting hit harder as his pitch count climbs. So, the obvious question is, could his best role for this club be in relief?

“His ability, what he’s done out of the bullpen gives us some confidence,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said recently. “I think it adds another option for us and I certainly could see him as a viable piece of the bullpen.”

Roberts agreed with the idea that Grove’s “stuff” plays up out of the bullpen. “In theory, if you don’t have to exhaust as many pitches there’s less tendency to hold back.”

One thing the manager said the team is working to improve for the right-hander is his success versus left-handed batters. Over the course of his short big league career, southpaws have tagged Grove to a .322 average while putting together a .971 OPS — better known as all-star caliber production. On the other side, righty swingers have hit just .239 albeit still with a relatively high .732 OPS fueled by a .455 slugging percentage allowed.

From the sound of it, the Dodgers will lean on Emmet Sheehan and Bobby Miller more than Grove in the rotation going forward. “It is a game of performance and as it stands, those two guys have really performed well.” Notably, this was before Miller’s rough outing against the Astros. With Daniel Hudson due back next weekend in Kansas City and Julio Urias as well, Grove may end up being the odd man out in the pitching staff mix. But the next time you see him in LA, don’t be shocked if he’s coming out of the bullpen.

For what it’s worth, he’s expected to pick up multiple innings tonight in Colorado.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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