When you walk through the garden …

Rarely have I been retweeted more than I was Tuesday when I passed along this link to The Wire wind-up toys.

Now, unwind with these notes …

  • Don Mattingly confirmed to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. that he has no plans to bat A.J. Ellis second, citing his lack of speed in front of Matt Kemp. Unfortunately, the alternative candidates’ lack of on-base percentage in front of Kemp seems not to have entered into Mattingly’s thinking.
  • Mattingly also hinted that Juan Rivera would start 2012 as the Dodgers’ regular left fielder with occasional days off. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com added that Jerry Sands is still in the mix to be a platoon partner for Andre Ethier and James Loney.
  • Dodger relief prospect Shawn Tolleson was interviewed by John Parker of MiLB.com.
  • The Dodgers have the National League’s second-easiest early season schedule, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Nine of their first 34 games are against teams with winning records in 2011.
  • Here’s the full list, 200-deep, of Dodger prospect rankings from Brandon Lennox at True Blue L.A. Henry Heredia, this is your moment.
  • Gold Glove or not, Andre Ethier’s ranking in David Pinto’s PMR list for right fielders at Baseball Musings probably won’t surprise you. Matt Kemp in center field? You tell me what you think.
  • Trayvon Robinson is trying to reestablish himself after his hot start with Seattle turned into a rough finish, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
  • Tuesday in Jon SooHoo: two pics that fostered polar opposite reactions for me, Jerry Sands bunting and Matt Kemp skywalking.
  • Not surprisingly, initial reaction to the new book from Dirk Hayhurst, Out of My League, is positive. Examples: Andrew T. Fisher of Purple Row and Keith Olbermann at Baseball Nerd.
  • The statement from Ryan Braun sample-taker Dino Laurenzi is eloquently written.
  • Coming March 15-17 is a SABR Analytics conference in Arizona. Not coming at the same time is the Notalytics Conference in South Dakota, but I sure wish it were.
  • Emmett Ashford, the majors’ first African-American umpire, was given an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Chapman College, according to Terry Cannon of the Baseball Reliquary.
  • Giancarlo Stanton: the slugger formerly known as Mike Stanton.
  • Harvard-Westlake’s Lucas Giolito hit 100 miles per hour while pitching a one-hitter for the Wolverines on Tuesday, writes Eric Sondhiemer of the Times.
  • Perfect for Leap Day: The Dodgers had the 29th-best offseason of all major-league teams, according to The Platoon Advantage.
  • KCRW’s Which Way L.A. now has its own blog.
  • Jonathan Abrams and Grantland published a vivid oral history of the 2004 Pacers-Pistons fight that spread into the stands.
  • Longtime Times columnist Steve Harvey is back writing “Only in L.A.,” host Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed announced. The first new edition is here.
  • Watch former Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob break a world-distance record for throwing a paper airplane at ESPN.com.
  • Farewell, Monkees and Brady Bunch star Davy Jones. I was a childhood fan of both. Here, from Variety, is the 1965 ad soliciting auditions for The Monkees
  • Anonymous

    The Mattingly angle on AJ is a head scratcher, but it is dissected by the crew over in True Blue.  Sands bunting may mean that he is auditioning for the second slot (recall Donnie’s take on using Shake n’ Blake last year?).

  • Anonymous

    I see it as a trade off.  Ellis’ situational hitting and OBP vs. clogged basepaths.  All I would ask of Mattingly is that he evaluated it and made an informed decision.  Sounds like he probably has.

    • Anonymous

      Sure its a trade off, the question is the terms of the trade.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed

    • Anonymous

      Clogged basepaths…. but the whole point of hitting is to clog the base paths with your guys…. at least that’s what some of the other teams do.

      • Anonymous

        If your 3-4-5- hitter are typical power hitting, run producers yes.  If David Ortiz was hitting in the 3-hole, then AJ makes perfect sense.  With Kemp’s speed plus power,  the need to have at least average speed ahead of him on the bases becomes a concern.  Nice problem to have.

  • Anonymous

    This is how i think the line up should be
    SS Dee Gordon
    1B James Loney
    CF Matt Kemp
    RF Andre Ethier
    LF Juan Rivera / Jerry Sands
    3B Juan Uribe
    2B Mark Ellis
    C AJ Ellis
    P Kershaw

    I think this works better because loney did better batting 2nd then he did any other place

    • Anonymous

      Your comment on Loney applies to last year only since he had just about never hit second before 2011, also it’s only 71 AB iirc. If he is hitting he should bat 5th, if not maybe bench.

  • Anonymous

    I do like Mattingly’s suggestion that he would make sure that he gave Sands enough PAs to justify him staying in the Bigs, even if Rivera is the starting LF.

    • Anonymous

      Assuming full health, if Rivera plays 120 games, Loney 150, and Ethier 150, then Sands could see starts in over 60 games.  If the unfortunately injury bug strikes, Sands ends up starting half the season.  He’s also the RH power hitter off the bench.  That’s deserving of a roster spot.

      • Anonymous

        Tony Jackson was suggesting that platooning with WGJ or Ethier might be in the cards.

        • Anonymous

          Does that mean playing Sands at first?

          • Anonymous

            Well, he would have to do better than Loney’s split of OBP .254 against lefties!

        • Anonymous

          I know TG will get a few starts here and there, but he’s the 5th OF and the late innings LF when the Dodgers are ahead.  I know Mattingly hasn’t said specifically “no” to a platoon between Ethier and Sands, but I just don’t see it happening.  RF is Ethier’s with a rest day here and there when a lefty on the hill.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, probably more likely to be platooning at 1st, if that were to happen. (Though I am sure that Dee would prefer Loney as his target as much as possible)

          • Anonymous

            Not sure why Tony Gwynn, Jr. doesn’t get any love, especially compared to Sands, who has proven absolutely nothing either in the minors or the majors. In the last 3 years, Gwynn has been more valuable than, say, Loney, while playing more sparingly. Maybe if he’s playing for the Yankees or something, he will be a 5th outfielder. On our roster, he’s the 3rd best position player.

  • Anonymous

    You have to make sure that Sands is playing a lot, and if that means starting the season in AAA, that’s fine.  If it means making sure he has enough PAs in LA, that’s fine too.

    Going into Spring Training, the default position should be that Loney, Ethier, and Rivera have thier positions to lose, and either have to lose those positions, or Sands has to play his way onto the team by hitting like crazy in Arizona.

    But given that, it seems that the most likely player to be displaced is Rivera.  Rivera had a good, but (let’s not kid ourselves) not great, second half after coming over, has never played more than 138 games, and has not had a lot of good years recently, and is on the wrong side of 30.  Loney had a much better second half, and Ethier when healthy has a better record than Rivera.  I hope Rivera produces, but surely he is the mostly likely candidate to be a questionable producer, and the the first person to lose their job if Sands plays so well that he just cannot be held back any longer.

    I feel like it’s a debate that has been had before (with Rivera reperesenting the Luis Gonzalez/Juan Pierre position).

  • Anonymous

    The suspense is killing me. Must scroll back up to see who had a worse off season than us!

    • Anonymous

      The O’s.

      • Anonymous

        At least there’s always the O’s.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there ya go, Harang’s foot is acting up again.  Sometimes you don’t get what you pay for.

  • Anonymous

    I really never thought I would be trying to find a Dodger Thoughts post tagged “Joe Ayoob.” Ayoob means “Extremely disappointing quarterback.”

  • Anonymous

    Hey great news, we rank first when it comes to ….. best uniforms!!

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7629005/ranking-uniforms-worst-best

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT