The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks rung in the 2014 season with the Opening Series in Sydney, Australia, with the Dodgers winning both games. Both teams showed reasons to be optimistic this season, but it’s also evident there’s room for improvement.
Here’s a look at the news and rumors from around the division:
Aside from dropping the two games to the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks had to endure a rough stretch from left fielder Mark Trumbo. Not known for his defensive prowess, Trumbo badly played a ball hit by Scott Van Slyke and followed that up with a futile diving attempt to catch a sinking liner that rolled to the fence. The Diamondbacks hope Trumbo can make up for his average fielding skills with what he’ll bring at the plate and he is 2 for 9 through .
Boone Logan, who’s entering the first season of a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Rockies after spending the previous four seasons with the New York Yankees, continues to work towards being ready for the start of the regular season. Logan remains optimistic that he will be available when the season begins, but the Rockies are taking preemptive measures by pitching him in Minor League games. By withholding Logan from Cactus League games, the Rockies will obtain the ability to place him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Friday, if necessary
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers won both games in different fashion offensively, but one constant was strong pitching from the starters. Clayton Kershaw recovered from his Spring Training struggles to throw 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Hyun-Jin Ryu followed that up with a 5.0 inning effort and five strikeouts. The bullpen had mixed results, pitching well collectively in the first game of the series but struggled a bit in the final game. Nonetheless, the Dodgers returned to the U.S. 2-0, with reasons to be optimistic, but also come concern as Yasiel Puig may need to undergo an MRI on his back.
San Diego Padres
Entering the final week of Spring Training, the Padres’ pitching rotation remains unsettled. Needing to replace Josh Johnson, who suffered a strained right forearm, manager Bud Black may be down to choosing between Robbie Erlin and Matt Wisler. Erlin has a 2.43 ERA through 7.2 innings this spring, whereas Wisler has struggled, particularly in his last spring start and now has a 6.97 ERA. Black isn’t pressed into needing to make an immediate decision as the Padres won’t need a fifth starter until April 8.
San Francisco Giants
Heading into a contract season, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has dropped a significant amount of weight. His chance at signing a new contract prior to the season beginning however, doesn’t appear likely. Sandoval reportedly asked the Giants for a five-year, $90 million extension, which the club has reservations on agreeing to. Part of the Giants hesitation can be tied to the payroll they’ve already committed to for next season and the need to address other roster spots. Namely Sergio Romo, who is in the final season of a two-year contract. If Sandoval and the Giants are unable to agree on a deal prior to the start of the season, it could lead to a more lucrative deal down the line for Sandoval if he is able to perform well.
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