GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Kenta Maeda threw two scoreless innings in his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking out two and giving up one hit in a 7-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
Maeda, who signed a $25 million, eight-year deal in January after eight seasons in Japan, exhibited good command in throwing 28 pitches in his first spring training start.
“Maybe I was a little nervous before,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “But once I was on the mound, not so much.
“I was able to add and subtract to my velocity and I was able to command my pitches well.”
Maeda also attracted a big crowd of Japanese media for his first spring start, and the game was even broadcast live in Japan, starting at 5 a.m. Sunday local time.
“Myself, I would have been sleeping,” Maeda said.
Rob Segedin led the Dodgers with two homers, one in the sixth inning and the other in the eighth.
The Dodgers led early, scoring two runs on five hits off Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller over the first two innings.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts came away optimistic after watching Maeda.
“It was good,” Roberts said. “I almost wanted to get him back out there, his pitch count was so low. Just watching the Diamondbacks players swing, there was definitely some deception in what he was throwing. So, yeah, it was great.”
The right-hander, who had a 2.09 ERA for the Hiroshima Carp last year, is projected to be a starter for the Dodgers, who are scrambling to fill their rotation following Zack Greinke’s offseason move to the Diamondbacks and the loss of Brett Anderson to injury on Thursday. Anderson underwent back surgery and could be sidelined for three to five months.
The Dodgers are also monitoring the progress of left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu, who is working his way back from shoulder surgery and hasn’t thrown a bullpen session since Feb. 27. Roberts said there’s no scheduled date for him to return to the mound.
Ryu, the No. 3 starter in 2013 and 2014, has worked two bullpens since arriving in camp. Roberts said the long stretch between sessions is not a setback.
“It’s kind of built into his rehab,” Roberts said. “I know, I’ve been assured, that this is part of the process.”