Archive for the ‘ Infield ’ Category

Injury wave has spared Dodger infield (knock on wood)

BOSTON RED SOX VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

By Jon Weisman

In addition to completing their 110th game Sunday, the Dodgers also played their 1,000th inning.

With 49 players appearing in a game this season and 26 spending time on the disabled list, there’s been quite a diverse distribution of those 9,000 defensive frames.

But there has also been an interesting pocket of stability — in the infield.

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In case you missed it: Adrian Gonzalez’s nicked neck

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Adrian Gonzalez missed today’s on-field workout after irritating a bulging disc in his neck during Saturday baserunning drills.

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MLB rule revisions tweak slides, neighborhood play

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

The neighborhood play at second base is now subject to review, as part of a series of rules tweaks jointly announced today by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today and blessed by the World Umpires Association.

The most significant involves plays at second base, and new guidelines have been posted for both baserunners and infielders.

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Eager to go from Seager to Seager

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.51.47 PM

By Cary Osborne

The Dodgers’ new third base coach and infield coordinator Chis Woodward has gone from Seager to Seager and in the transition, got some advance word from Seager on Seager.

Woodward spent the last three years in the Seattle Mariners organization and the last two full seasons on the Major League staff, coaching infielders both seasons and manning the first-base coach’s box in 2015 as well.

As anybody knows from Little League on up, the cardinal sin is for a coach to play favorites, but the hard-nosed former big-league infielder couldn’t help but take a liking to Kyle Seager, the Mariners’ All-Star third baseman and older brother of Dodger shortstop Corey Seager. Woodward knew from talking to Kyle that he’ll probably have a similar feeling about Corey.

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Howie Kendrick and the long Dodger lineup

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ lineup might be defined less by the absence of a traditional leadoff hitter than by the absence of a traditional No. 8 hitter.

Of their eight most likely 2016 position-player starters — and we’ll count newly resigned second baseman Howie Kendrick among them — none has a projected on-base percentage below .311, nor a weighted on-base average below .319.

In 2016, according to Fangraphs, the average No. 8 hitter in the National League had a .302 OBP and .283 wOBA.

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Dodgers regain Howie Kendrick on two-year deal

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Pittsburgh Pirates

By Jon Weisman

If the Dodgers were prepared to move into the 2016 season without Howie Kendrick, it’s also clear how happy they should be that he’s coming back.

The 32-year-old second baseman has signed a two-year contract to reunite with the Dodgers, whom he provided a .336 on-base percentage and 109 weighted runs created last season.

2015 NLDS-Game One-Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets

The immediate impression is that Kendrick is the player who solidifies the Dodger infield. His return frees Chase Utley to spend more time supporting Justin Turner at third base and Kiké Hernandez to roam around the field as he did in 2015. Kendrick himself might dabble in the hot corner.

Though Opening Day is nearly nine weeks away, and Spring Training and injuries will certainly shuffle the deck, here’s how the Dodger roster of position players currently shapes up:

  • Catchers: A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal
  • Infielders: Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Chase Utley
  • Infielder-outfielders: Alex Guerrero, Kiké Hernandez, Scott Van Slyke
  • Outfielders: Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig
  • In the wings: Austin Barnes, Micah Johnson, Trayce Thompson, plus the non-roster invitees

Kendrick x 2

An above-average player for each of the past five years, Kendrick is a nice one to say hello to again.

Passing on Todd Frazier, Dodgers show commitment to Justin Turner

NLDS GAME FOUR-LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS NEW YORK METS

By Jon Weisman

From the Dodgers’ perspective, today’s three-team trade with the Reds and White Sox was about picking up three 24-and-under players who have already had a taste of the Major Leagues.

But in an unmistakable way, it was also about a player who wasn’t part of the trade at all — Justin Turner.

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Uribe, Turner could again form nice duo at third

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers workoutBy Jon Weisman

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Much has been speculated about the upcoming timeshare arrangement for the Dodgers in 2015 at catcher, but third base might not be much different.

After batting .311 with a .337 on-base percentage and sterling defensive work, Juan Uribe is the clear starter at third. Justin Turner is the team’s No. 1 infield utility player, becoming the first Dodger since Jose Hernandez in 2004 and sixth since 1924 to play more than one game at first, second, third and short.

But injuries limited Uribe, who turns 36 in March, to 103 games (98 starts) last year, opening the door for Turner to approach the 59 games (45 starts) he had at third in 2014.

“I think we do give (Uribe) breathers,” Mattingly said. “Definitely, we watch Juan. … and he’s pretty honest with us. Sometimes we get a bad matchup, and J.T. makes it easy to give him some days off.”

While Mattingly is wary of overplaying Uribe, he also finds that Turner wears down if he plays too often. That being said, he raved about Turner’s physical condition heading into camp this year.

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Gordon building foundation at second base

Dee Gordon has appeared only at second base thus far in 2014. Photo: Juan Ocampo, Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Coming into this season, there was a lot of talk about the new versatile Dee Gordon. He already was a shortstop. He was learning second base, and he even played some center field in the Dominican Republic in the winter.

But from one versatile player to a new versatile player, utilityman Chone Figgins’ advice to Gordon has been focus on second base.

“Right now he’s too young too worry about that stuff. He has the opportunity to be the starting second baseman every day,” Figgins said. (more…)

In case you missed it: Upside down, boy you turn me

By Jon Weisman

One week until it’s time for Dodger (Spring Training) baseball …

  • Injury updates on several Dodgers are provided by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. It could be a couple of weeks before we know more about Matt Kemp.

    … Kemp has had monthly MRI exams since having surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left ankle in October. Mattingly said the last exam was roughly two weeks ago, so we could have another two weeks or so before hearing anything new. …

  • More encouraging news — and a great quote — are coming from Josh Beckett and Dan Haren, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN LosAngeles.

    … “I said, ‘Did you ever dream you’d be watching a guy with a beard like Brian Wilson pitch with Sandy Koufax standing 10 feet from you?’” Beckett said. “Dan Haren’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like there should be a unicorn somewhere.’” …

  • Since before the beginning of Spring Training, it’s been apparent that there might not be a full-time starter at second base come March 22. As Saxon and Stephen report, nothing has changed on that count.
  • Proclamation time:
  • “There’s no reason not to be confident” in Paco Rodriguez, despite the fact that he ran out of steam last fall, Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.comalong with Stephen.
  • In this Gurnick news feature about Don Mattingly, managers and long-term contracts comes this tidbit: “Jamey Wright has played for 29 managers in his 21 professional seasons.”
  • Yasiel Puig’s signing could have an impact for the Dodgers’ future international efforts, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

    … “The way it works down there, [amateur] players come to tryouts at your camp, and we had a hard time getting players to come to the academy [in the Dominican Republic] until we signed Puig,” (Ned) Colletti said. “I was down there about three weeks ago or so, and it was probably the best group of players that I’ve seen. A lot of it has to do with our ability to spend, and we’ve increased our scouting internationally three-fold from where it was. We have the finances to be competitive with players from Cuba and amateurs in other countries. Puig was a very key sign for us in more ways than just his talent.”

  • Tommy Davis is the latest to be featured in Ernest Reyes’ 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven.
  • Joe Morgan talked with Bill James? It’s more than 80 minutes (via Baseball Think Factory), but this I gotta hear. “A lot of you may not know him as well as I do,” Morgan said, “but he is the father of sabermetrics, so to speak, and a guy that I really have a lot of admiration for. I don’t agree with a lot of sabermetrics people, but I’ve rarely disagreed with Bill.”