Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers are poised to play their final intrasquad game of Summer Camp on Friday night, and it will finally mark the first time Walker Buehler gets an opportunity to pitch.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the right-hander will throw two innings. Up to this point Buehler has been limited to bullpen sessions and facing batters in a simulated setting at Dodger Stadium. Buehler’s latest bullpen was Wednesday.
“He’s just a little bit behind the other guys,” Roberts previously explained. “But once the season starts, whatever he can give us — with the extra pitchers on the staff — will be sufficient.”
Considering Buehler’s limited throwing during Summer Camp, at best he would provide the Dodgers with four innings in his first start of the regular season. That pales in comparison to Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Ross Stripling, who each are tracking to make a normal start in their first outings of the season.
Buehler’s modest advancement over the past three weeks prompted questions over a potential injury. Roberts refuted that, and again voiced confidence in Buehler tracking to be part of the Opening Day rotation.
“All I do know is that Walker feels good and we’re going to be kind of very careful in continuing to build him up,” Roberts said. “But I do expect him to be ready for Opening Day.”
Another presumed certainty is Buehler won’t be lacking for any adrenaline or intensity when he does take the mound. Prior to his absence from intrasquad games, the uber-competitive 25-year-old said he was not concerned about only having three matchups with opposing teams before Opening Day.
“With how talented we are — nothing against any other team — but facing some of our guys is about as good as you can get,” Buehler said. “I know personally there are certain guys I’ll be more competitive against in our locker room than maybe any other person in the league.”
More absent pitching
Like Buehler, Tony Gonsolin has yet to appear in an intrasquad game. Though, Gonsolin was late arrival to Summer Camp due to an undisclosed reason.
“Tony has thrown a couple bullpens. I think the plan is to get him into a game or face some hitters on Saturday,” Roberts said.
“Obviously we see Tony as a starting pitcher but he has a lot of versatility. Anything can happen, we haven’t set our roster yet but I certainly see Tony of huge value for us in some capacity throughout the season.”
The Dodgers aren’t scheduled to play an intrasquad game Saturday, which suggests Gonsolin will face batters in a simulated situation.
Dodgers fifth pitcher?
David Price opting out of the 2020 season created an opportunity in the rotation, which Gonsolin, Dustin May and Stripling figured to be in the running for. Stripling has seemingly pulled ahead, but Roberts has stopped short of naming him the fifth starter.
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