By Jon Weisman
For those of you caught in today’s rain in Los Angeles, it won’t surprise you to find that weather could be a factor for Saturday’s Spring Training game for the Dodgers against the Brewers.
In the meantime …
- Juan Castro, now a Dodger special assistant for player personnel, talked to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com about the challenge faced by Dee Gordon and Alex Guerrero in trying to master second base.
“The double play is harder, because the shortstop has everything in front of him. He can see the runner. The second baseman has his back to the runner and doesn’t know where he’s at, where he’s sliding, if he’s going to get hit.”
Castro said players are instructed on their positioning to take a throw, turn the pivot and get out of the way of the runner. But it’s too dangerous to practice getting taken out by an opponent trying to break you in half from behind. That only happens in the games, and there’s no way to know how a player reacts until it does.
- With 22 days to go until a potential March 22 start for No. 22, it’s Clayton Kershaw in the spotlight at Opening Day Countdown, whose Mark Newman wonders if Kershaw could someday become the greatest Opening Day pitcher of all time.
- Adrian Gonzalez on the Dodger Stadium crowds last year, as told to Richard Justice of MLB.com:
“The crowds were there when we were losing,” he said, “and that made it more special to go out there and win some games for them and get in the playoffs. You know, you always hear about the crowds when they’re winning, but when they’re out there when we’re losing, that shows a lot about what kind of fan base we have.”
- Monica Barlow, public relations director for the Baltimore Orioles, passed away from cancer at age 36. There are several tributes to her online, such as this from Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.
By Jon Weisman
It was a feel-good day for the pitchers on both the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox … and then Joc Pederson came to the plate.
Pederson, understudying for Scott Van Slyke in right field today, followed a Clint Robinson single by slicing a ball the opposite way over the left-field fence, breaking a seventh-inning scoreless tie and lifting the Dodgers on their way to a 5-0 victory over Chicago.
Robinson himself hit a homer in the eighth inning that capped a three-run rally and gave him three hits in six Cactus League at-bats so far. Robinson’s pull shot to right field followed a walk and stolen base by Dee Gordon, a double by Mike Baxter and a sacrifice fly by Brendan Harris.
While the good times ended abruptly for the White Sox hurlers, they rolled right on for the home-clad Dodgers.
Hyun-Jin Ryu became the first Dodger starting pitcher at Spring Training this year to complete two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no strikeouts. Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright each followed with scoreless innings, with Matt Magill throwing 38 pitches in two frames to wrap things up.
Los Angeles lowered its Cactus League ERA through three games to 2.33. The Dodgers have yet to allow a home run in 27 innings of Cactus League play. A total of 13 Dodger pitchers have combined to allow one run in their past 16 innings.
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers signed two players from Thursday’s open tryout at Camelback Ranch, righthanded pitchers Danny Keller and Steven Edlefsen.
Edlefsen, 28, is a seven-year veteran of the Giants organization, including 26 2/3 innings in the majors from 2011-12 with a 6.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts against 54 baserunners.
Keller, a 21-year-old Woodland Hills native, has three seasons of low-level experience on the Brewers’ farm.
By Jon Weisman
Today’s health-and-well-being blotter from Ken Gurnick at MLB.com includes updates on Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Carl Crawford, Brandon League, Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert and a new name, Ross Stripling.
Stripling will undergo a contrast MRI on his right elbow, which came up sore nearly a week ago. And as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes, Stripling made the rookie mistake of not telling someone right away, and pitched two innings Wednesday after the soreness materialized.
“We didn’t hear a thing about it. He didn’t tell a trainer, and didn’t tell a coach. It’s one thing we talk about with young guys, it happens every spring,” Mattingly said. “You ask them to let somebody know, but they don’t want to tell anybody because they want to compete.
As for the others, Gurnick said that Greinke might play catch as soon as today, that Kemp had his MRI (that might or might not clear him to begin running) on Thursday but results haven’t been announced and that Crawford is expected to play Saturday.
Gurnick also added via Twitter that League (lat strain) is throwing a simulated inning against Kemp and that Billingsley said he will begin throwing breaking balls on Saturday. In addition, Gurnick reported that Scott Elbert threw off a mound today for the first time since his January appendectomy.
J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News has more on Billingsley.
By Jon Weisman
The first big conference at the mound of 2014, pictured above.
- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com follows up on the condition of Zack Greinke, following his early exit today:
… “I just felt something in my calf,” said Greinke. “Just try to take care of it this early in spring. Hopefully it’s not a big deal. I think it’s minor. We’ll see in a couple of days. Right now, I don’t feel too bad.”Greinke said it felt like a cramp and that when he’s had them in the past, he would walk it off and the muscle would loosen. This time he took a few steps, but the discomfort remained. He said he might have been able to pitch through it if this had been the regular season, but nobody would let him continue at this point unless he was 100 percent.
Greinke was scheduled to pitch two innings, with an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen afterward. The Dodgers mapped out a schedule for starters Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren to make four Cactus League starts each and would pick two of them to start against Arizona in the Opening Series in Australia.
Greinke, who recently started a stir when he said there was “absolutely zero excitement” about going to Australia, is now likely eliminated as an option, although he disagreed.
“I definitely don’t think this takes me out of the mix,” he said. “Hopefully it doesn’t.” …
- You can stream the first episode of SportsNet LA’s “Backstage: Dodgers” at ineedmydodgers.com.
- The Dodgers have the best lineup in the National League, second only to Boston in MLB, according to Marc Normandin of Sports on Earth.
The Dodgers could easily have baseball’s best lineup in 2014. The problem is that they just as easily could miss out on this list altogether due to potential injuries or ineffectiveness from a huge portion of their lineup. That risk has them in the two spot, but it’s no insult: this lineup is absolutely stacked, and if things come together for them, they are going to crush many, many baseballs.
- If you buy only one Volcanic Jalapeno Beef Jerky this year, make sure it’s the Game On Volcanic Jalapeno Beef Jerky endorsed by A.J. Ellis. Roberto Baly gives us a taste at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
- Mark Saxon tells the story behind the story of October’s Scott Van Slyke-Joe Kelly staredown at ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Ron Fairly 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet, at Blue Heaven. I mean, someone really went to a lot of trouble with these.
By Jon Weisman
He hit the Dodgers’ most dramatic home run of 2013, and now he has the Dodgers’ first home run of Spring Training 2014.
Juan Uribe’s high, high fly ball to left field pierced the sky before just clearing the left-field fence in the fourth inning of the Dodgers’ 4-3 victory over Arizona at Camelback Ranch. The homer by the famed Uribear tied the game at 2, two innings after Uribe’s soft bloop single scored Adrian Gonzalez with the Dodgers’ first run.
Miguel Rojas spearheaded the Dodgers’ go-ahead rally in the bottom of the seventh, leading off with a sharp single to center and going to second on a wild pitch. After Nick Buss was hit by a pitch, fellow reserve candidate Brendan Harris singled home Rojas.
Alex Guerrero then hit a blooper to short left-center (ruled a single and an error) with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring home one more run.
For the second day in a row, a Dodger reliever with an outside chance of making the active roster struck out the side. Today, it was Daniel Moskos, who fanned Mike Jacobs, Matt Tuiasosopo and Jake Lamb. But the top relief performance of the day came from Red Patterson, who retired all seven batters he faced, striking out two.
Sam Demel, converted third baseman Pedro Baez and Jarret Martin also pitched shutout innings. Carlos Frias would have as well, but with two out and a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth, Buss lost his grip at the last moment of a diving catch attempt that would have ended the game, but instead went for an RBI double.
Scott Van Slyke then succeeded with a diving catch in right field to prevent the tying run from scoring and wrap things up.
Chris Withrow, pressed into early action thanks to the calfinated Zack Greinke, allowed two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out one. He ended up throwing 42 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings.
Andre Ethier joined Uribe and Guerrero in the two-hit club.
Por Yvonne Carrasco
SportsNet LA to produce record number of Dodger games in Spanish
For an English-language press release, click here.
¿No crees que a veces suena mejor cuando un jonrón de Hanley Ramírez o Yasiel Puig se narra en el mismo idioma de ellos? ¿Y mejor todavía viéndolo por televisión? Bueno, los Dodgers sí lo creen y por eso estamos contentos de anunciar que nuestro socio SportsNet LA transmitirá una cantidad récord de juegos en español–¡75! En el 2015, SportsNet LA incrementará el número de juegos producidos en español a 150.
SportsNet LA anunció hoy que transmitirá 75 juegos de los Dodgers en español–la mayor cantidad en su historia–y que por ende, le traerá a la comunidad latina y la fanaticada más acceso que nunca a su equipo favorito.
De regreso como los presentadores de dichos partidos estarán el legendario jugador y entrenador del equipo, Manny Mota, y el reconocido presentador de televisión Jorge Jarrín. Esta será la tercera temporada en que el dúo estará al frente de la transmisión de los juegos de los Dodgers en español.
“Es fantástico que Manny Mota y Jorge Jarrín, a quienes estamos emocionados de tener narrando los juegos de los Dodgers nuevamente, puedan hablar directamente con más aficionados de los Dodgers esta temporada,” comentó Stan Kasten, presidente y máximo ejecutivo de los Dodgers.
El primer juego de los Dodgers en español a través de SportsNet LA coincide con el inicio de la nueva temporada el viernes, 4 de abril, cuando Los Ángeles se enfrentará a los San Francisco Giants (1:10 p.m.).
Todos los juegos de la temporada regular de los Dodgers se pueden escuchar por Univisión América KTNQ 1020 AM con la voz del Salón de la Fama Jaime Jarrín y la de Pepe Yñiguez, en su 16to temporada con el equipo, y con los comentarios del zurdo mexicano Fernando Valenzuela. Ayer fue el inicio de las transmisiones de los juegos de entrenamiento primaveral.
Para más información sobre SportsNet LA y para pedir la programación de la cadena, visita www.quieromisdodgers.com.
By Jon Weisman
Zack Greinke was two pitches into his second batter of the game today at Camelback Ranch when Stan Conte and Don Mattingly had to come to the mound to check on him. After throwing two practice pitches, Greinke walked off the mound.
Vin Scully said Greinke seemed to be indicating something with his right leg or knee. After retiring leadoff batter Tony Campana on a fly ball, Greinke seemed to favor the leg on his first pitch to Cliff Pennington. He threw one more pitch before the visits to the mound happened.
Chris Withrow replaced Greinke. More details as they come …
Update: It’s a right calf issue.
Greinke removed from game after throwing 4 pitches. Precautionary measure with right calf issue. He’s with trainer in clubhouse.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) February 27, 2014
By Jon Weisman
Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis are being held out of action today by the Dodgers.
Crawford has a tight right hamstring, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, while Ellis was suffering from the flu.
It was Crawford’s left hamstring that put him on the disabled list in 2013.
“We don’t feel like this is anything that’s going to linger, but it is part of the process with Carl,” Don Mattingly said, per Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. “With only X amount of games, we know we’ve got to kind of be careful.”
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News, Ellis came in to work today but was sent home.
“He didn’t look great,” Mattingly said.