Dodgers’ Miguel Rojas to skip WBC, stay in camp

GLENDALE, Ariz — The “new opportunity” created by Gavin Lux’s injury has prompted Miguel Rojas to withdraw from playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Rojas said the uncertainty of playing time as a utility player on Team Venezuela was the deciding factor. Instead of leaving camp to join the WBC team next week, Rojas will stay in the Dodgers’ camp and prepare to be their primary shortstop.

“Especially with my offseason this offseason, two wrist surgeries, I need at-bats,” Rojas said. “I need to get going and my role with that Venezuelan team would not be playing every day. I would be more of a role player, a guy that could come in late in the game to play defense. I don’t know how many at-bats I would get. I talked to the GM, the manager of the team and the people running the Venezuelan team and I said, ‘You know what, I feel the necessity, for me, for my career, for the Los Angeles Dodgers trying to find a way to win a championship. I need to stay.’ I need to keep building those relationships with guys, especially with Miggy (Vargas) at second base, knowing that he’s going to be playing second base for the first time every day.

“It’s something that I don’t take easy. This is a hard decision. But at the end of the day, it’s what I need to do for my future and for the organization as well.”

Rojas said he met with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Brandon Gomes and manager Dave Roberts in the wake of Lux’s season-ending knee injury Monday and they expressed “concern” about Rojas leaving camp now.

“We talked about how bad of a break for the organization is having Lux hurt like that. But I feel like someone has to step up and someone has to take over the position, right?” Rojas said.

“Together as a group, we decided that it’s better for me to stay here if I’m not going to play every day (in the WBC).”

Rojas said he would possibly reconsider if Venezuela needed him to be its starting shortstop.

“For me to go there and be playing third base, second base and even first base because of defensive replacements – that’s not making much sense anymore because I’m going to be playing short here,” Rojas said.

Roberts said he expects Rojas to split time at shortstop with Chris Taylor “80-20, 75-25” and praised Rojas for “his sacrifice” of not playing for his country.


Last season, teams began using PitchCom technology that allowed catchers to signal pitch calls to earpieces worn by pitchers, bypassing the old system of signaling pitches that could be deciphered by opposing teams.

This spring, MLB has told teams they can reverse the process – pitchers can wear wristbands and call their own pitches, signaling to catchers wearing the earpiece.

A number of pitchers – Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish and Luis Severino among them – have used the wristbands to call their own pitches this spring. But Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior said none of the Dodgers pitchers have expressed an interest in calling their own pitches yet.

“It’s been addressed in the meetings,” Prior said. “We’ve talked about it with the pitchers, ‘Hey, if you guys want to be in charge, we’ll start playing around with it.’

“I’ve encouraged our guys to at least try it out.”

Veteran Clayton Kershaw said he has no interest in doing that and only uses the PitchCom system when there is a runner on second base. He also doesn’t want to eliminate input from his catcher.

“It’s a collective effort,” Kershaw said. “I’ve had Barnesy and Will (Smith) for a number of years now. I want their opinion. I’m not usually in between (choosing) pitches. But if they put down the pitch I’m thinking, it gives me that conviction.

“I think that’s part of the game. I trust Barnesy and Will a lot with their opinions. Yeah, we’re going to be on different pages sometimes. But for the most part, that’s why we do the prep, the meetings, all that stuff.”

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard said he has no interest in calling his own game.

“No, I trust my catchers,” he said. “Plus, I like to be in auto-pilot mode and focus on executing pitches.”

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Smith called it “a big ask” to have pitchers calling their own pitches without input from their catcher. Barnes called it “weird” to have the responsibility reversed.

“It’d be like they were taking us out of the equation,” Barnes said.


Walker Buehler began his throwing program Wednesday, playing catch with a limited number of throws from 60 feet. Buehler underwent his second Tommy John surgery in August and is hopeful he can return to pitch before the end of the 2023 season.

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