Results tagged ‘ Blake DeWitt ’

Nine surprising Opening Day starters for the Dodgers

Luis Cruz greets Justin Sellers during Opening Day introductions in 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Luis Cruz greets Justin Sellers during 2013 Opening Day introductions. (Photos by Jon SooHoo)

Vicente Padilla allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day 2010. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Vicente Padilla allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day 2010.

By Jon Weisman

Every spring, there’s tons of edge-of-your-laptop anticipation over who will start for the Dodgers on Opening Day, even if it won’t mean much by the end of that year, month, week or game.

Going back 30 years, here are nine of the most eccentric picks for the Dodgers’ season-opening lineups. Do you remember them all? They’re each peculiar yet lovable in their own way …

(more…)

A new voice for a critical 2015 Dodger draft

Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino

Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino

By Cary Osborne

It’s 9:30 a.m., and scouts and crosscheckers are walking through the entrance of the executive offices at Dodger Stadium for what is the beginning of about a 10-hour work day.

The MLB Draft is Monday, and today is Day 2 of draft meetings in the baseball operations sector of the front office.

The big board — listing the top 100 draft prospects — should be up later today. Because of the volatility of this particular draft, the Dodgers aren’t set on who their No. 1 pick will be. By Sunday, they still probably won’t know.

“Five minutes before will probably be the time we know,” said Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers’ director of amateur scouting.

(more…)

Joc Pederson becomes seventh Opening Day rookie starter for Dodgers since ’88

MIKE PIAZZA SCOTT LIVINGSTONE

Padres at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Cary Osborne

Today, Joc Pederson becomes the seventh rookie to start for the Dodgers on Opening day since the Dodgers’ last World Series title in 1988. Within the previous six, there have been three National League Rookies of the Year and a player who went on to hit 439 career home runs.

The first in that group was 1993 National League Rookie of the Year Mike Piazza. Piazza earned the Opening Day start that year at Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium, in the Florida Marlins’ inaugural game. Piazza, batting seventh, went 1 for 4 in a 6-3 Dodger loss.

(more…)

Saturday’s 1-0 walkoff sacrifice fly was the second in L.A. Dodger history

Padres at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Hyun-Jun Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Saturday brought the 159th 1-0 victory in the 57 seasons of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but also something much more unusual than that.

A.J. Ellis provided the 13th 1-0 Dodger victory in which the winning run came in by sacrifice fly, and the first since June 3, 2009 (Casey Blake). Before that was the June 28, 2008 game (Blake DeWitt) that the Dodgers won with no hits.

Saturday also marked the first time the Dodgers had won, 1-0, on a ninth-inning sacrifice fly since May 29, 1992 (Todd Benzinger) at Wrigley Field.

But not for 25 years had the Dodgers had a walkoff sacrifice fly in a 1-0 victory, not since May 1, 1989.

(more…)

The rarity of Dodger rookie regulars in April

Los Angeles Dodgers first full squad workout

By Jon Weisman

Just to show how unprecedented it would be for Alex Guerrero to step into the Dodger starting lineup at the beginning of the 2014 campaign, consider this:

In the eight previous seasons of the Ned Colletti era, no position player without previous MLB experience has been the Dodgers’ intended starter in March or April.

Since Colletti arrived, only three Dodgers have started more than 10 games before April 30 without previously playing in the Majors, and none was the first resort:

Blake DeWitt and James Loney in action at Game 1 of the 2008 National League Championship Series in Chicago. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2008)

Blake DeWitt and James Loney in action at Game 1 of the 2008 National League Championship Series in Chicago. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

James Loney, 2006: Loney made his debut on April 4 and started 10 games in a platoon with Olmedo Saenz while the Dodgers waited for Nomar Garciaparra to recover from a strained ribcage muscle suffered in the Freeway Series. Loney, who OPSed .595 in 44 plate appearances during this first taste of the Show, went to Triple-A once Garciaparra was activated April 22.

Blake DeWitt, 2008: DeWitt had but 45 games of experience above Single-A when he was thrust into the role of starter at third base, thanks to injuries not only to Garciaparra (wrist microfracture) but also Andy LaRoche (torn ulnar collateral ligament in right thumb) — both suffered in the same March 7 Spring Training game — as well as Tony Abreu. Nicknamed “The Solution,” DeWitt played regularly at third base with an OPS above .800 as he passed the 200-plate appearance mark in mid-June, before he slumped and was ultimately replaced by midseason acquisition Casey Blake. DeWitt remains the only Colletti-era Dodger to start the most games of anyone at his position in a given year (77) without having previously earned an MLB paycheck.

Jerry Sands, 2011: Sands slugged .529 for Double-A Chattanooga in 2010, but still began 2011 in the minors as predicted. He was called up April 18 to fill the roster spot of Xavier Paul, who was designated for assignment, and play some left field in a year the Dodgers began with Tony Gwynn Jr., Marcus Thames and Paul (with a sprinkle of Jamie Hoffmann). Sands played somewhat regularly into early June and ended up starting 53 games for Los Angeles in left field, right field and at first base.

Bringing up players in May has been a different story: Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are notable examples. But handing a position to a pure rookie before May Day just hasn’t been happening. Even Yasiel Puig, of course, waited until June last year.

While Guerrero isn’t a typical rookie, it would still be groundbreaking for him to serve as a regular for the Dodgers in March and April.