Michael Grove Open To Any Role On Dodgers Opening Day Roster

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Michael Grove was among the several starting pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on to get through the 2023 season, but his year ended with a successful stretch in a bullpen role.

For Spring Training, the right-hander has been among the pitchers the Dodgers are stretching out for a starter role. But it wasn’t until Sunday, in his fourth Cactus League appearance, that Grove started a game this spring.

He took full advantage of the opportunity by holding the Texas Rangers to just one hit and collecting six strikeouts over 3.1 innings.

Grove remains under consideration for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation, which he is grateful for but also isn’t focusing on and is willing to take on any role, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I just want to make the team. A lot of those decisions aren’t up to me anyways, so that’s the best mindset I can have. Just do my job when they give me the ball and continue to mentally be there, find ways to get better, have conversations with coaches and just give myself the best chance.”

There was an adjustment with learning how to pitch out of the bullpen and now reverting back to being stretched out, but Grove is taking it in stride:

“At first, coming out of the ‘pen is uncomfortable and then I kind of got comfortable in it. And now, running out there for three, four innings feels like a lot. So building back up is a little different, but obviously here to do whatever is best for us as a team.”

When tried as a starter in 2023, Grove logged a 6.75 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and a .319 batting average allowed in 52 innings pitched. But upon shifting to the bullpen, he lowered that mark to a 4.24 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, allowing just a .219 average.

Emmet Sheehan won’t be ready for the Opening Day roster, creating an avenue for Grove to be with the Dodgers to start the season.

That possibility might be in a bullpen role, but the Dodgers may shy away from downsizing Grove’s workload again after stretching him out as a starter.

While a potential role is undecided, Grove is among the players who are going to be on the Dodgers travel roster for South Korea.

Scenarios for Michael Grove to make Dodgers Opening Day roster

Because of Sheehan’s injuries, the door is now open for both Gavin Stone and Grove to make the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster.

The pair struggled in their own respective 2023 seasons, which put added pressure on the rest of the rotation to perform. The Dodgers could greatly benefit from an uptick in production from Stone and Grove, making them both viable candidates for the backend of the rotation.

Some believe Grove’s stuff projects as a high-end bullpen option because of an ability to touch the upper-90s on his fastball while having sharp secondary offerings.

Grove’s biggest issue has been inning-to-inning consistency and avoiding the home run ball. But a sustained run of positive results this spring could force the Dodgers hand in providing him with more of an opportunity to make the rotation.

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