Russell Martin, Clayton Kershaw reunite as Dodgers spring training begins

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. — It was “Turn Back the Clock Day” on the first day of spring training at Camelback Ranch.Though the first workout is not scheduled until Wednesday morning, a handful of Dodgers pitchers threw bullpen sessions Tuesday. Among them was left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who threw approximately 30 pitches to a new guy in camp – Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.It was the first time the two were paired 60 feet, 6 inches apart since August 2010.“It’s almost like I have to pinch myself to realize I’m back here – because I never wanted to leave here. But I didn’t have control over that,” said Martin, who was re-acquired by the Dodgers in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason. The last time Martin caught Kershaw, the left-hander was a 22-year-old in his second full big-league season. Before setting up behind the plate Tuesday, Martin joked with fellow catchers Austin Barnes and Will Smith that Kershaw didn’t even throw a slider the last time he caught him.“We both have a certain amount of miles on our body since the last time we were together,” Martin said. “I just remember the last time I caught him, he was fastball-curveball pretty much. Now, I feel one of his best pitches is his slider.“That’s the great thing about baseball – guys make adjustments. The best players stay the best because they’re willing to make those adjustments. Kershaw is one of those guys who’s going to do whatever it takes to stay at the top of the food chain. It’s just nice to get back there and kind of reminisce a little bit.”RETIREMENT PARTYAnother former Dodgers catcher, A.J. Ellis, has retired and will take a position in the San Diego Padres’ front office as a special assistant in the baseball operations department.An 18th-round draft pick of Logan White (now the Padres’ director of player personnel), the 37-year-old Ellis spent parts of eight seasons with the Dodgers, doing his best work as Kershaw’s close friend and batterymate. Ellis was behind the plate for 829 innings in 118 games with Kershaw on the mound. Kershaw’s ERA in those innings was 1.97, the lowest he has had with any catcher who caught him for more than three games. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season “We have a rough schedule for Corey, but obviously it’s going to be on the back fields, probably taking at-bats (in minor-league games first),” Roberts said. “To be in an ‘A’ game, to start to play to get three at-bats, that’s down the road.”Roberts estimated Seager would need 50 to 60 at-bats in spring games to get ready. Getting ready to play nine innings of defense for the first time in nine months might be more of a challenge.“We’re going to have to create some situations and see how many defensive innings he can log because arguably that’s going to be harder than the at-bats,” Roberts said.ALSODodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is scheduled to have back surgery Tuesday and will miss the first week to 10 days of training camp. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img “He’ll be great at it,” Kershaw said of Ellis’ new role. “I know he wrestled with it. He had a fantastic career.“I’m happy for him. He’s going to do great at whatever he does.”SEAGER STATUSShortstop Corey Seager is among a large group of position players already in camp. Recovering from two surgeries last season – Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and arthroscopic surgery on his left hip – Seager is still progressing in his rehab, with limited throwing and running as part of his daily workout.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Seager is “tracking” to be ready for Opening Day but acknowledged that Seager’s spring debut in games is “TBD.”Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img