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Los Angeles Dodgers' Gavin Stone's failure and learning from last year's experience

Gavin Stone's tough rookie season led him to work hard, and he's ready to compete for a spot in the rotation.

Gavin Stone had a rough rookie season in the major leagues, but he's using it as motivation to improve. During his eight-game MLB debut, he had a 9.00 ERA, with hitters batting .338 against him and hitting eight home runs. This lack of success made it clear to Stone that he needed to put in a lot of work to improve his performance. Stone's efforts to improve began in the second half of last season when he added two new pitches to his repertoire, a cutter, and a two-seam fastball. These new pitches allowed him to target different areas of the strike zone, giving him more versatility as a pitcher. Stone also worked on correcting some issues from his rookie season, such as a blister on his foot that affected his command and tipping his pitches, which allowed hitters to anticipate his changeup. He acknowledged that these corrections took a lot of time and effort to address.

This year, Stone is competing for a spot in the starting rotation for the Dodgers. Manager Dave Roberts has indicated that performance, physical condition, and the opponent will be factors in the decision. Stone is up against other pitchers, including Emmet Sheehan, Michael Grove, and Ryan Yarbrough. The decision on the starting rotation won't be made until April, and the Dodgers are allowing for flexibility due to the unpredictability of injuries and other factors.

Shohei Ohtani, who is recovering from elbow surgery, has been making progress and is expected to play in a Cactus League game soon. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Ohtani are expected to be in the lineup together next week. Freeman, who hit a home run in his first game of the spring, is preparing for the season earlier than usual due to the Dodgers' early opening in South Korea. He is treating live batting practice as extra at-bats and is feeling confident about his readiness for the season.

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