LA Dodgers pitching coach shares his training plan for the former Chicago White Sox closer, ‘Just give him the ball and get out of the way’

Of all the qualified pitchers who reside in the LA Dodgers bullpen, Craig Kimbrel could be the ace in the Dodgers’ sleeve. Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior knows that.

Craig Kimbrel is an eight-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year who has rebounded in the league in recent years.

Throughout her 12-year career, some things haven’t changed for Kimbrel. He is a closing ace. He recorded 373 saves. He led the league in saves and save chances from 2011 to 2014. Kimbrel also posted an ERA of just .219.

LA Dodgers look to exploit Kimbrel’s skills

Just before the start of the 2022 MLB season, Kimbrel was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for outfielder AJ Pollock.

“Welcome to the @Dodgers, @Kimbrel46” – @MLB

Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes is a former player who faced Kimbrel in the batting box. Gomes knows he has talent in the bullpen on his team. Kimbrel adds some extra experience and clutch that will no doubt come in handy.

Kimbrel, however, has seen his numbers drop over the past three seasons. His save percentage is down and his ERA is up. In 2019 and 2020, Kimbrel’s ERA hovered around the 6.00 mark.

For pitching coach Mark Prior, a former player himself, Kimbrel’s arrival opens the door to opportunities to work with him one-on-one and let the youngsters on the pitching team learn from Craig’s experience.

Craig Kimbrel, 95mph Fastball and 85mph Knuckle Curve, Overlay.

“Craig Kimbrel, 95mph Fastball and 85mph Knuckle Curve, Overlay.” – @Rob Friedman

Earlier this week, Prior was asked what he plans to do when it comes to coaching Craig Kimbrel.

Prior, who played four seasons for the Chicago Cubs, replied, “I mean, he’s been doing it for a long time, so there’s not much to do. Just give him the ball and walk away.

LA Dodgers pitching coach Prior is no stranger to dealing with highly skilled underachievers.

Craig Kimbrel throws in Game 4 of the 2021 American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros
Craig Kimbrel throws in Game 4 of the 2021 American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros

Mark Prior obviously sees the skill and athleticism of Craig Kimbrel. The question now is whether the former baseball’s closest best can rise to the occasion and dramatically improve his numbers while playing for the LA Dodgers, a true World Series contender.

Edited by Jodi Whisenhunt

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