As Dodgers break camp ahead of South Korea trip, it's a different type of getaway day

The lone MLB franchise with at least 100 wins in each of the last four full seasons will soon take to Seoul, South Korea, to start anew, with the same expectations, multiplied by Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

How might Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shoulder the weight of such anticipation after back-to-back NLDS exits?

The man just needs to pack.

“It’s a lot to deal with as we get ready to go to South Korea, and as we come back, the travel and things like that,” Roberts said.

Roberts, “a big cultural guy,” said he looked forward to the overseas trip, adding that he might even play some golf. Gavin Stone, still not guaranteed to make the roster as one of two front-runners for the No. 5 rotation spot, perked up his ears at the possibility of getting some drives in during his first international trip.

Everyone has their own process.

Mookie Betts did not want to ruminate through future permutations.

The premier outfielder-turned-shortstop just knows he’s never been on a plane for 14 hours. Google says 16 hours.

“I don’t look too far ahead,” Betts said. “Just take it one day at a time.

“Enjoy today. Tomorrow will be a new day. Whenever we walk on the plane, I’ll enjoy that too.”

Miguel Rojas has been there, done that. The 35-year-old veteran shortstop traveled with the Dodgers to Sydney, Australia, in 2014. His prevailing message to others in the clubhouse has reflected that experience.

The Dodgers are set to play two regular-season games against the Padres at the Gocheok Sky Dome.

That’ll leave them with 160 when they touch back down in Los Angeles. Rojas, for all intents and purposes, wants the group to stay grounded throughout.

“What I’ve been telling everybody, it’s not how we perform over there,” Rojas said. “It’s how we get back here for the long run. We got to stay focused on the big picture.”

Bigger glove, better results for Gavin Stone?

Upon making his MLB debut at 24 years old last season, Stone did not entirely know what he was in for. His third appearance against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 28 provided clarity, painful as it was.

Stone gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs in two innings of work that felt like seven, as he consistently tipped his pitches.

“They got me pretty good,” said Stone, a top candidate alongside Michael Grove for the final spot in the Dodgers’ season-opening rotation.

The Atlanta Braves, whom he faced in his second appearance, weren’t known to care as much about tipping, according to Stone. The Rays did and let him know just how much.

A quick glance into his 12-inch glove by runners at second base, or the slightest twitch in his right forearm as he re-gripped from a changeup to a slider, had set him up for failure.

So he got 12½-inch gloves and adjusted his stretch routine.

Stone relentlessly pounded a glove mallet into the new Nokona mitts he received Wednesday, at one point taking a break to demonstrate the small forward lean added ahead of his set position that he hopes will make a big difference on the bump this season.

“You don’t really notice stuff like that until you’re up in the big leagues,” Stone said.

“People in the minors, you could tip all day and they probably won’t even notice.”

Will Smith a late scratch

Dodgers starting catcher Will Smith was a late scratch for Wednesday’s Cactus League game against the Seattle Mariners due to “low back tightness,” per the team. Austin Barnes caught for Yamamoto in Smith’s place, the Dodgers’ last game at Camelback Ranch before they board the flight to Seoul on Thursday.

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