Friedman thrilled with club's dynamic in '16

'It's been incredible to be around this group,' Dodgers president says

Friedman thrilled with club's dynamic in '16

LOS ANGELES -- Game 1 of the National League Division Series isn't until Friday, but Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was asked Tuesday about his views on starting pitchers coming back on short rest.

Someone like, say, Clayton Kershaw, who starts Friday against Washington (2:30 p.m. PT/FS1) and could wheel back to start Game 4 in Los Angeles four days later.

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Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 LAD 4, WAS 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 9 WSH 5, LAD 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 WAS 8, LAD 3 video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 LAD 6, WAS 5 video
Gm 5 Oct. 13 LAD 4, WSH 3 video

"I think it's so unique to the specific pitcher and I think you really have to be around the guy in question to get a sense for how they recover and what risk you're possibly introducing," said Friedman.

"Kersh has obviously done it, the way he's pitched and the way he's bounced back, he does everything he can during the offseason and during the season to put himself in a position so he can do it. I don't know, I think we'll just get through Game 1 and see how he feels and assess from there. Those are things we don't have to answer right now. We'll just take it game by game and see where we're at."

Manager Dave Roberts has said 20-year-old rookie Julio Urias would start a possible Game 4 if Kershaw doesn't. For what it's worth, Kershaw must have felt fine Tuesday, when he took batting practice with the other starters.

Friedman said construction of the 25-man roster for the series "has been the most challenging roster construction for the playoffs that I've ever been a part of, and I think it's a testament to the depth that we have and the number of different guys that contributed throughout the year. We feel the group we put together matches up really well with Washington and we're excited to get going."

Roberts on roster decisions

Along with talent and grit, Friedman said this club stands out for its makeup.

"It's been incredible to be around this group," he said. "The professionalism and the ability to have fun and welcome in guys as injuries happened, it's as good a group dynamic as I've ever been around. Coming in last year, we talked a lot about changing the culture, and Doc (Roberts) and the coaching staff have done a tremendous job creating that dynamic in our clubhouse."

That's why, Friedman said, he wasn't hesitant to include seven rookies on the roster and a total of 10 players that spent time in the Minor Leagues this year.

Among the rookies on the roster is third catcher Austin Barnes, who Friedman said frees up veteran backup Carlos Ruiz for pinch-hitting against left-handed relievers.

Friedman also said management chose Luis Avilan over Alex Wood as the third lefty reliever because "we just felt he matches up really well against them and he's pitched really well this year and handled the adversity of being optioned and what he's worked on early in the year put him in position to have success recently."

Friedman said Wood rehabbed diligently to get into the roster conversation after in-season elbow surgery and "hopefully we'll put together the roster for the next round and he'll figure prominently."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.