Jul 02

Wait-and-see game with Ramirez to continue through weekend

Manny Ramirez probably isn’t available as a pinch-hitter during this weekend’s series with Arizona, Joe Torre told reporters today, but the Dodgers continue planning to play a man down rather than commit to placing him on the disabled list. Xavier Paul was set to hit leadoff tonight for Albuquerque.

Scroll down this Baseball America prospect report to see how many Dodger farmhands have been put on the minor-leagues’ seven-day disabled list. I wonder if anyone has ever thought about reducing the minimum stay on the major-league disabled list by a few days, say to 11. That would still be long enough to fulfill its purpose, but give clubs fewer instances of having to carry an injured player.

* * *

  • Earlier this week, AZ Snakepit was trying to determine the Diamondbacks’ Loss of the Year (yes, we know it’s only midseason), and the Dodgers provided two of the seven candidates. The May 31 balk-off finished a close second to a June 28 collapse against the Cardinals.
  • AZ Snakepit also says that Arizona will have played 42 consecutive games against teams with winning records by the end of this weekend’s series.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has transcripts of this morning’s press conferences from Arizona president/COO Derrick Hall and managing general partner Ken Kendrick.
  • From the Dodger press notes: “Spanish-language broadcast engineer Mike Noto worked his 2,634th consecutive game on Wednesday and earlier this week surpassed Cal Ripken’s consecutive games streak (2,632). Noto is now in his 20th season and has missed just one game during that time, when he worked a Stanley Cup Finals game for the Kings in 1993. However, Noto has a way to go to catch the Hall of Famer in his booth, Jaime Jarrin, who once called close to 4,000 consecutive games spanning 22 seasons.”
  • Also from the press notes: “The Dodgers have signed left-handed pitcher Adam Dedeaux to a minor league contract and he’ll start his career in the Arizona League. Adam is the grandson of former Dodger Rod Dedeaux (1935), who went on to become the winningest coach in college baseball history while at USC.”
Jun 30

Manny Ramirez to get MRI

Manny Ramirez is scheduled for an MRI in Arizona on Thursday, the Dodgers announced, saying that it hasn’t been determined whether he will go on the disabled list.

Garret Anderson, who turns 38 today, is starting in left field, while Reed Johnson is giving Andre Ethier a rest in right field.

* * *

  • From the Elias Sports Bureau: “John Ely got the win in his 12th start, an unusually high total at this point in the season for a rookie under Joe Torre. Since Torre returned to the dugout with the Yankees in 1996, only two rookie pitchers started at least 12 games by the end of June: Ted Lilly (2001 Yankees) and Hiroki Kuroda, technically a rookie at age 33 for the Dodgers in 2008. Besides Kuroda, the only rookie pitcher to start 30 or more games in any of Torre’s 29 seasons as a major-league manager was Craig McMurtry for the Braves in 1983 (35 GS, 15–9, 3.08 ERA).”
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus on Dodger prospect Jerry Sands: “When Sands was demolishing the Midwest League to the tune of .333/.432/.646, it was easy to take it with a grain of salt, as he was a 22-year-old beating up on a level he had no right to be in. Moved up two levels to the Southern League, he’s now bashed four home runs in five games, and we don’t have that grain of salt anymore. He’s a bad outfielder and even worse first baseman, so he has to keep mashing. But just one week against more reasonable competition has done wonders for his prospect status.”
  • Adrian Beltre is the subject of an appreciation by David Golebiewski of Fangraphs.
Jun 29

We have ourselves a firestorm

Matt Kemp is benched for the third game in a row.

Update: These are the nuggets from Joe Torre’s media session …

1) Torre and Kemp talked.
2) Torre told Kemp he would start Wednesday.
3) Torre said Kemp is struggling and has been frustrated.
4) Kemp came to see Torre; Torre did not approach Kemp.
5) Torre said he didn’t know if Kemp would be starting Wednesday if Kemp hadn’t come to him.
6) Torre said if the coaching staff has something to say a player, they tell him. (I guess Torre had nothing left to tell Kemp without Kemp coming to Torre?)
7) Torre said Andre Ethier would probably get a day off Wednesday. Whether Manny Ramirez will start Wednesday has not been determined.
8) Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton are resting tonight and Ronald Belisario is doubtful. The team will improvise its relief in the late innings.

Jun 27

Kershaw LXVII: O Kershaw, Curtain, Lights


Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Andre Ethier has as many home runs with at least two runners on base in 2010 as the rest of the Dodgers combined.

You know what I look forward to seeing? The Dodgers breaking open a close game or rallying with a three-run home run.

But in 74 games this year, the Dodgers have only eight three-run homers, along with two grand slams by Andre Ethier. That total comes in 443 plate appearances with at least two runners on base.

The Dodgers were on a pretty good pace until shortly before Ethier’s pinkie injury. In nearly seven weeks since May 11, the Dodgers have two three-run home runs.

Manny Ramirez is 16 for 31 (.516) with three doubles and six walks with at least two runners on base, but doesn’t have a homer this year in those situations.

James Loney, who broke the 50 RBI barrier Saturday, is second on the team with two three-run homers. He is 21 for 53 (.396) with four doubles, two homers and four walks with at least two runners on base.

Here are the 10 three- or four-run home runs.

  • April 13: Andre Ethier, ahead 6-2 in the sixth.
  • April 16: Andre Ethier (grand slam), ahead 3-0 in the second.
  • April 20: Matt Kemp, down 9-6 in the eighth.
  • April 30: James Loney, ahead 2-1 in the third.
  • May 1: Andre Ethier, down 1-0 in the third.
  • May 4: James Loney, down 11-3 in the eighth.
  • May 6: Andre Ethier (grand slam), tied 3-3 in the ninth.
  • May 11: Russell Martin, ahead 4-3 in the eighth.
  • June 7: Blake DeWitt, ahead 7-1 in the fifth.
  • June 16: Andre Ethier, ahead 2-0 in the sixth.

The Dodgers are actually pretty decent at keeping rallies going. But sometimes, you just want to see them hit the heights.

Jun 26

This is … whose town, now?

After Matt Kemp made a long run to catch a fly ball during Friday’s game, I saw the oddest sight on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard. It was a “This Is My Town” ad with Dusty Baker’s image.

Just a hunch, but I don’t think Reds manager Baker, who departed the Dodgers as a player under bitter circumstances, was consulted on this. I’m guessing someone just got carried away with nostalgia.

Anyway, let’s see if one of the current Dodgers can make this his town tonight.

* * *

My wife and I had to leave Friday’s game after eight innings in order to meet our babysitter deadline. That’s the way it goes, but I hated giving the Yankee fan sitting behind me in the stands that to crow about. For the record, there were Yankee fans leaving early, too.

  • The extra rest that Edwin Jackson is getting after his 149-pitch no-hitter will push his attempt to go Johnny Vander Meer to Friday against the Dodgers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com (via Hardball Talk).
  • Dodger prospect Jerry Sands is 5 for 8 with two homers and three strikeouts since moving up to AA Chattanooga. He has yet to hit into an out.
  • Cliff Corcoran of Bronx Banter fears Hiroki Kuroda.
Jun 25

Dodgers might be unprepared for this left turn


Getty Images/AP
When James Loney faces CC Sabathia, you can throw out the records! Right?

In 629 at-bats against lefty starters this year, the Dodgers have a .682 OPS, with 41 doubles but only eight home runs. They also have one stolen base with a lefty starter on the mound.

Not too surprisingly, right-handed hitting Jamey Carroll is getting the start over left-handed hitting Blake DeWitt at second base against left-handed pitcher CC Sabathia. Perhaps surprisingly, this is a mistake by small-sample 2010 standards. DeWitt is OPSing .923 against lefty starters this year, Carroll .499.

For his career, DeWitt has an .809 OPS against lefty pitching and .699 against righties.

* * *

A nice treat: Fernando Valenzuela recalls his underrated complete game victory in the 1981 World Series to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. I had never really heard Valenzuela talk about the game before.

* * *

Here’s a preview from the Yankee perspective from our good friends at Bronx Banter.

Jun 23

Rafael Furcal returns to lineup

As the Dodgers welcome back Rafael Furcal and return Chin-Lung Hu to Albuquerque, Joe Torre indicated to reporters that Thursday’s start for Charlie Haeger will be his last chance to show the team something.

“Now that he’s healthy, it’s the best time to make a decision on him,” Torre said, according to the Dodgers PR department. “He had a good outing last time and threw the knuckleball for strikes. He’s going to have to show us something; tomorrow is his shot. We’ll make room for him tomorrow.”

Travis Schlichting is the most likely player to go to Albuquerque to make room for Haeger. Then, if Haeger bombs out, I think then you might see Haeger designated for assignment and another reliever like Jon Link recalled Friday.

Furcal talked to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com about the final days before his father’s tragic passing.

… “My mother and brother didn’t tell me how bad it was, they didn’t want to tell me while I was playing,” said Furcal. “But the doctors explained to my wife that if I wanted to see him alive, I had to get there. Thank God to the Dodgers for letting me go for the last three days of his life.

“When I got there, he looked so bad. But he saw me and was so happy, he tried to get up, but couldn’t because of the surgery. He was waiting for me, I think.”

Jun 22

Once more, with feeling: Haeger gets Thursday start

The Dodgers confirmed this evening that Charlie Haeger would come up from Albuquerque to give it another go for the big club Thursday.

I want you all to say it loud, and say it proud: “He’s due!”

* * *

Dodger manager Joe Torre told reporters that Chad Billingsley had a good bullpen session and is on track to be activated from the disabled list in time to start Monday in San Francisco.

Rafael Furcal flies back to Los Angeles today, but might not play until Wednesday, Torre said.

* * *

Cory Wade pitched the first inning of the Dodgers’ Arizona League game Monday. With one out, he hit a batter and gave up a triple and a single for two runs. He got the next two batters and was done.

Jun 20

Dodgers juggle starting rotation again

The Dodgers will do the emergency starter thing on Thursday instead of Saturday, Joe Torre told reporters today. Vicente Padilla’s Thursday start has been pushed to Friday, Hiroki Kuroda’s Friday start to Saturday.

On the surface it’s a strange move, because the Dodgers have an off day July 1, five days after Saturday. So by starting someone – either Charlie Haeger or Claudio Vargas, Torre hinted – on Thursday, they’d have to use that person two times instead of once.

What this hopefully means is that the Dodgers are confident that Chad Billingsley will come off the disabled list in time to start June 29 at San Francisco. Nevertheless, it pushes Hiroki Kuroda out of the San Francisco series, which seems a downer to me.

Here’s how things now shape up. Of course, this remains subject to change.

Monday: off day
Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw
Wednesday: John Ely
Thursday: Charlie Haeger or Claudio Vargas
Friday: Vicente Padilla
Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda
Sunday, June 27: Clayton Kershaw
Monday, June 28: John Ely
Tuesday, June 29: Chad Billingsley
Wednesday, June 30: Vicente Padilla
Thursday, July 1: off

Jun 20

A sad Father’s Day for Rafael Furcal

Rafael Furcal’s father Silvino passed away Sunday, three weeks after internal damage suffered from being kicked in the chest by a horse, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com. So sorry to hear this news.

  • Chris Withrow pitched a seven-inning shutout, striking out 10 while allowing five baserunners, for Chattanooga on Saturday.
  • Nice interview of Dodger communications VP Josh Rawitch by Caleb Bacon of LAist.
  • Here’s a season preview of the Dodgers’ farm team at Ogden, provided by the town’s Standard-Examiner. Garret Gould and Leon Landry are among the team’s players. And don’t forget Pedro Guerrero of San Pedro De Macoris.
Jun 19

Vicente

Carlos Monasterios was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a recurring split nail and blister issue.

Jun 18

And speaking of reunions …

Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew led the Dodgers in home runs in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Today in Boston, the Dodgers say a rare hello to former Boys in Blue Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew.

Moving from Seattle’s pitcher-friendly ballpark Safeco Field to Fenway Park has revitalized Beltre offensively. The third baseman, now 31, has a .374 on-base percentage and .574 slugging percentage, his best numbers since he left the Dodgers. I’m not sure ballpark adjustments entirely account for his improvement from .304/.379 with the Mariners last season.

In six career games against the Dodgers, Beltre is 8 for 24 with two doubles, a homer, three walks and one strikeout. Beltre was 3 for 21 with three walks and a homer for the Dodgers against Boston.

Drew, 34, has declined so far this year, his OPS falling from .914 in 2009 to .807 while starting 60 of 68 games in right field. This weekend marks the first time he faces the Dodgers since opting out of his contract. Something tells me that Drew would get booed if he ever returned in a visiting uniform to Dodger Stadium, a shame considering his .905 OPS for Los Angeles.

* * *

  • Carlos Monasterios won’t be the least experienced starting pitcher in Fenway Park tonight. Fellow Venezuelan Felix Doubront, 22, is making his first major-league start. The lefthander’s ERA with AAA Pawtucket was 1.08, though he never reached the six-inning mark in any of his four starts. He struck out 16 in 16 2/3 innings against 22 baserunners. For AA Portland, Doubront had a 2.51 ERA in 43 innings spread over eight starts.
  • From the Dodger press notes: “Monasterios has now outlasted all Rule 5 draft picks for the Dodgers other than D.J. Houlton (2005). Since 1981, the Dodgers have drafted just nine players in the Rule 5 draft and only four made the Opening Day roster – Houlton, Monasterios, Frank Lankford (1998) and Jose Antonio Nunez (2001). Both Lankford and Nunez were returned to their previous teams in May. Houlton stayed on the roster all season.”
  • Nick Green has signed a minor-league contract with Toronto, according to the team (via MLB Trade Rumors).
  • A barnburner in Albuquerque on Thursday, with the Isotopes falling, 15-12 in 11 innings after rallying from an eight-run deficit. Claudio Vargas pitched an effective three innings in his return to the Dodger organization, but then the roof caved in on Cody White, who allowed 10 runs in four innings. Lucas May had a single, double and one of four Albuquerque home runs, raising his OPS to .830. Russ Mitchell hit his fourth homer in his past four games.
  • Kyle Russell doubled but also wore the platinum sombrero in Chatanooga’s 14-2 win. Russell has struck out 19 times in 36 AA at-bats. Dee Gordon reached base four times for the Lookouts, raising his OPS to .951 in his past 10 games. Kenley Jansen continues his fast track up the Dodger system since he converted to relief pitching from catching; he has 24 strikeouts and a 1.17 ERA against 18 baserunners in 15 1/3 AA innings.
  • Ethan Martin pitched six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts for Inland Empire.
  • Collectibles from Pedro Guerrero’s magic June 1985 are on auction, writes Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven. They were obtained directly from Guerrero.
  • Here’s a Dodger divorce update from Dodger Divorce.
  • Why do some teams avoid giving physicals to players they’re going to acquire, wonders Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk.
  • Why do managers bat reserve players in the same batting slot as the starters they’re replacing, regardless of whether that makes sense, wonders Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs.
  • Jerry Seinfeld and Keith Hernandez will reunite in the Mets broadcast booth next week.
  • Davey Lopes was interviewed by David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus. The big news to come out of the interview was that Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has been playing with a bum knee, but I’m linking it for the moment Lopes talks about the day he stole five bases against the Cardinals and how he kicks himself for not getting seven.
  • We know how great Sandy Koufax’s 1966 was. At this stage of the season, it was even greater.
  • Beyond the Box Score has a neat graph of Wins Above Replacement for the first round of the 2006 (Clayton Kershaw) draft.
  • The San Diego Padres pitching gets a long look from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
Jun 17

Rafael Furcal placed on bereavement list

No details yet, but the Dodgers announced in a 7:30 a.m. e-mail that Rafael Furcal had been placed on Major League Baseball’s bereveament list. Chin-Lung Hu has been called up to take his roster spot, though he will not arrive in Cincinnati in time for the start of today’s early game.

Placement on the bereavement list means that Furcal will miss from three to seven games.

All my sincerest condolences to Furcal.

Update: Furcal went to the Dominican Republic to see an ailing family member, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

* * *

  • Nick Green opted out of his minor-league contract and became a free agent, reports Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner.
  • Claudio Vargas returned to the Dodger organization, signing a minor-league contract with the Isotopes, whose pitching has been trashed by injuries, absences, promotions and demotions.
  • Russ Mitchell homered twice and singled for Albuquerque on Wednesday, while Michael Restovich doubled, tripled and homered, and Xavier Paul and Ivan De Jesus, Jr. also each had three hits.
  • Kyle Russell hit his first AA home run for Chattanooga, while Trayvon Robinson had three hits.
  • Fred Claire has a nice story at MLB.com about Monte Irvin, who at age 91 will have his number retired by the Giants. Among other tidbits was this revelation:

    … Irvin revealed that when he got out of the service in 1945 he signed a contract with the Dodgers.

    “I had been selected by Branch Rickey to break the color barrier,” said Irvin. “I had the talent and I was easy to get along with.”

    Irvin said that even though he had signed the contract with the Dodgers, he asked to return to play in the Negro Leagues “because I didn’t want to go to the Major Leagues until I had my game back after three years in the service.”

    Irvin said a dispute developed over the contract between his Negro League team and the Dodgers, and he didn’t get his opportunity in the Major Leagues until a deal was worked out with the Giants in 1949.

    “Things have a way of working out and I’m just happy that I had the chance to play the game that I loved,” he said.

  • Matt Kemp’s struggles get an analysis from Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone.
  • Second-round draft choice Ralston Cash is close to signing with the Dodgers, reports Bill Murphy of the Gainesville Times.
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven passes along a neat find: a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers ticket order form. Get your box seats for $3 …
  • Here’s a fun historical site: CalTrafficSigns.com (via Franklin Avenue).