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    Dodgers give Shohei Ohtani his first day off of the season
    • May 2, 2024

    PHOENIX — When the Dodgers posted their starting lineup for Wednesday’s game, it was their first no Sho of the season.

    Shohei Ohtani wasn’t in the lineup after starting each of his first 32 games with the Dodgers. The trio of Mookie Betts, Ohtani and Freddie Freeman had occupied the first three spots in the Dodgers’ lineup every game before Wednesday. Now, Betts, Freeman and Teoscar Hernandez are the only Dodgers to play each of the first 33 games.

    “I think that he understands that it’s a long season, so there wasn’t any back and forth,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Ohtani. “I think he understands that it’s probably for his own benefit.”

    Roberts said it was “just a routine day off” and not prompted by anything. But Ohtani was 1 for 5 Tuesday with three strikeouts and is 5 for his past 26 (.192). He was 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday – though a run did score on a wild pitch while he was batting with the bases loaded – and if there is any blemish to be found in Ohtani’s excellent start this season it is in those situations. He is batting .184 (7 for 38).

    Roberts has said at times he sees Ohtani altering his approach in those situations and being overly aggressive, expanding his strike zone and swinging at pitches he would not in lower-leverage situations.

    “I think that hitters want to hit. Shohei is as aggressive as those bees were last night,” Roberts said. “They want to hit in big spots. Certainly, he feels like he’s the best option to drive in a run. And that’s what pitchers feed off of. So I do think, like I was talking about earlier, that he’s managed that controlling of the strike zone. But I think the DNA part of it is to want to swing the bat, which is still a good thing.”


    The Dodgers cleared the way for Walker Buehler to return to their starting rotation next week by sending right-hander Landon Knack back to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Knack was 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts after right-hander Bobby Miller also went on the injured list.

    Buehler made his final rehab start for OKC on Tuesday, completing five innings for the first time in his six starts.

    Roberts would not confirm Buehler’s imminent return.

    “Last night, I was really impressed because he was pitching. I thought he used his entire pitch mix really well,” Roberts said. “The velocity was still there. And he was getting outs. So last night I thought clearly was his best one.”

    Buehler has not pitched in a major-league game since June 2022 and underwent both a second Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair that summer. But the Dodgers are optimistic the Buehler who returns to their rotation will still be the aggressive, power-pitching version who once led their rotation.

    “I think he’s going to still be Walker,” Roberts said. “He’s going to be attacking. But I think that there’s an attacking with his entire repertoire. I think that in years past, it was heavy fastball, heavy cutter where I think that Walker has more weapons. And I think that’s what my hope is, instead of just trying to bully guys.

    “It’s different for everyone (returning from a major injury). … As you haven’t been competing at this level for quite some time, to sort of feel, figure out, see where you’re at at this point in time. … I’m sure there’s going to be some anxiousness, some nerves, that there naturally should be, until you kind of get a couple starts under your belt. You know, Clayton Kershaw is going to have it when he comes back. So if he’s going to have that, sure as heck Walker’s gonna have that too, which is normal.”

    Optioning Knack to Triple-A allowed the Dodgers to recall right-hander J.P. Feyereisen and add a fresh arm to their depleted bullpen. Feyereisen made two appearances with the Dodgers earlier this season, allowing six runs in 1⅓ innings. At OKC, he was 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven appearances.


    Right-hander Blake Treinen’s fourth appearance on a minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday was his best so far.

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    Treinen pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one. He threw 15 pitches, 11 strikes. Treinen has allowed five runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out four in 3⅓ innings on his rehab assignment.

    The expectation is Treinen will pitch again on Thursday. Pitching on back-to-back days could be the final step before his return to the Dodgers.


    The Dodgers are off Thursday.

    Braves (RHP Charlie Morton, 2-0, 3.60 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Gavin Stone, 2-1, 4.68 ERA), Friday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network, 570 AM

    ​ Orange County Register