Winter wonderland

Baseball in January – I can always get behind that.

With the Dodgers opening their annual winter workout for minor leaguers to the press today, on the same day as baseball’s quarterly owner meetings in Arizona (with Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com giving us our Frank McCourt update) there’s plenty of linking to be done. Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is My Homeboy has not one but two posts (filled with photos and video), as does Phil Gurnee of True Blue L.A. You can also check out roundups from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Dylan Hernandez of the Times and Beth Harris of The Associated Press:

  • Dodger manager Don Mattingly (funny, I’m still getting used to saying that, but it kind of looks smooth right now) sent out a lot of positive energy in his meeting with reporters today, preaching resiliency and believing that players who had bad second halves can bounce back. He also didn’t pass the buck on some of what went awry last year. “Things went wrong and as a staff we might not have handled those issues. I want a positive environment. This game should be played with the excitement of a little kid. I want to create an environment where guys have a chance to play their best baseball.”
  • There was much talk about the Dodger outfield, where there don’t seem to be any more additions coming. That means, if Tony Gwynn can’t steal the center-field job, that Jay Gibbons and Xavier Paul would enter the season as the primary left fielders.  Mattingly mentioned that Casey Blake could see some left-field time, but unless the Dodgers fortify third base, I can only see that happening against some lefthanded pitchers, with someone like Jamey Carroll playing third.
  • Jay Gibbons had surgery this offseason to improve his eyesight, but recently experienced blurry vision while playing winter ball in Venezuela. Dodger head trainer Stan Conte tells Jackson he isn’t worried (yet).
  • Speculation continues that Joe Torre might end up working in the commissioner’s office. Jackson has the latest.
  • Fodder pitcher Roman Colon was signed for the minors, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
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