They are on pace, no joke, for the greatest season in the history of baseball. Yes, it is early in 2017, but the Dodgers did trounce the Padres on opening day. After three more games against San Diego, the team hits the road for an intriguing road trip, facing the Rockies and the Cubs. Until then, let's answer a few questions. You can send me questions on Twitter @McCulloughTimes.
Four days before the Dodgers need to release their first-round playoff roster, Manager Dave Roberts settled one of the biggest questions about the composition of the 25-man unit. Despite missing the first five months of the season with a broken leg that has still not fully healed, veteran outfielder Andre Ethier will be part of the team. Roberts confirmed Ethier's presence on the roster to face Washington before Sunday's regular-season finale against the Giants. Ethier has recorded four hits in 23 at-bats this season, batting .174 Roberts insisted he still believed in the upside Ethier offered as a pinch hitter.
Idle since the first week of the season due to soreness in his lower back, Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke took batting practice Sunday afternoon and could be ready to start a rehabilitation assignment later this week. Manager Dave Roberts sounded upbeat about Van Slyke's progress. Last week, he indicated Van Slyke would still require two more weeks of recovery before he could play in games. Now his timetable has accelerated. "He's moving around really well," Roberts said before Sunday night's series finale against St. Louis.
In the lone piece of roster intrigue heading into opening day Monday in San Diego, the Dodgers settled the complexion of their bullpen by keeping right-hander Louis Coleman on the roster and optioning struggling left-hander Luis Avilan to the minors. Manager Dave Roberts announced the decision after an 8-1 loss to the Angels in the final game of the Freeway Series. He also revealed the composition of his bench, as catcher Austin Barnes, outfielder Trayce Thompson and infielder Charlie Culberson all made the team. The decision to keep Coleman over Avilan appeared unlikely at the beginning of the spring. Coleman signed with the team in mid-February after being released by Kansas City.