first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire GROVE OUT OF THE WOODSPitcher Michael Grove, the Dodgers’ second-round draft pick in June, said he has already thrown batting practice to live hitters as he returns to competition following Tommy John surgery. He will head to Camelback Ranch this week to take part in instructional league activities.Dr. Keith Meister replaced the ulnar collateral ligament in Grove’s right elbow in May 2017. The 21-year-old pitcher missed all of his junior season with the University of West Virginia.“It was about eight months before I was allowed to pick up a baseball,” he said. “There were days you had no motivation at all.”Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies LOS ANGELES – Dave Roberts said it isn’t quite decision-making time for his luxuriant collection of bullpen arms, but the Dodgers manager acknowledged that it’s getting close. Six games remain in the regular season and the Dodgers can clinch a playoff berth as early as Wednesday.That’s not a lot of time to get a look at the two relievers Roberts still wants to see more from: Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.The two pitchers “have been hurt a majority of the year, so for them to have an opportunity, they’ve got to pitch and we have to see what we have,” Roberts said. “The calendar is running short, so I think those are two guys that you have to give opportunities to, to see what you have.”Roberts burned through six relievers in the final two innings of Saturday’s win over the Padres, including Fields and Cingrani for three batters each. Fields, a right-hander, retired all three while striking out two. Cingrani, a left-hander, allowed two singles and hit a batter. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fields also appeared in Sunday’s game, his first back-to-back appearances in the majors since returning from a bout with right shoulder inflammation. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out one batter. In 44 games this season, Fields is 2-2 with a 2.25 earned-run average, and 33 strikeouts in 40 innings.Cingrani has thrown only 17 pitches this month, including eight for strikes, after missing more than three months with shoulder inflammation. Scott Alexander, Alex Wood and Caleb Ferguson figure to be the Dodgers’ top left-handed relievers going forward.Roberts said that Cingrani’s struggles “may be a combination of rust and mechanical (problems). … Honestly I don’t know.”By singling out Fields and Cingrani, Roberts acknowledged that the majority of the Dodgers’ internal evaluations are complete. The postseason bullpen decisions should be mostly clear-cut if the Dodgers advance.“We’re not at that point yet but as we play the next (six) games I think it’ll be quite clear,” Roberts said. Grove, a 21-year-old right-hander, said he threw a couple bullpen sessions for scouts at this year’s Big 12 Conference tournament. Jonah Rosenthal, the Dodgers’ area scout who signed Grove, did not watch either session. Yet the Dodgers saw enough to reward Grove with the 68th overall selection.When first-round pick J.T. Ginn chose to attend college, Grove became the Dodgers’ highest pick to sign a contract.ALSOChase Utley acknowledged a standing ovation from the top step of the dugout prior to his final regular-season home game. Utley, who will retire after the season, was also greeted with a standing ovation prior to his first plate appearance in the sixth inning. He waved his helmet to the crowd, grounded out to second base, and was applauded on his way back to the dugout. … Utley flied out in the eighth inning and finished 0 for 2. … Sunday’s announced attendance of 50,250 brought the Dodgers’ regular-season total to 3,809,684 million. It’s the second-largest attendance in franchise history and the eighth-largest in National League history. … Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Garvey, and Don Newcombe were recognized on the field as the inaugural group of “Legends of Dodger Baseball.” Each will receive a plaque next season honoring their careers that will be on permanent display at Dodger Stadium. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco last_img