May 09

Greinke to make rehab start Friday

Rushed, or just in the nick of time?

Zack Greinke is expected to make his first rehab start Friday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore, with Scott Elbert also expected to pitch an inning of relief in his first rehab appearance, the Dodgers announced.

By the way, Carlos Quentin is 7 for 47 with a .574 OPS — including 2 HBP — since the Greinke incident.

May 06

Adrian Gonzalez’s admission has meaning for Matt Kemp

The strange thing about the reaction to Adrian Gonzalez’s acknowledgment (to Bill Shaikin of the Times) that he won’t have the same power as he did before undergoing labrum surgery in the 2010-11 offseason is that no one has followed that with the obvious connection to Matt Kemp.

“I can still hit home runs. That is not going to be an issue. The full power is not the same,” said Gonzalez, who had surgery to repair his labrum before the 2011 season, in acknowledging he would be more of an average and doubles hitter going forward.

In October, Dylan Hernandez of the Times did link Gonzalez with Kemp — who had labrum surgery last winter — but nevertheless, people seem to remain surprised that Kemp is having power issues at the start of this season. In 2011, Gonzalez hit one home run in April — the same as Kemp this year.

Gonzalez finished 2011 with 27 home runs, before hitting 18 in 2012. He has three this season, though he is slugging .500 thanks to seven doubles.

The potential effect of labrum injuries on sluggers is nothing new. Ten years ago, I noted on Dodger Thoughts the effect that Shawn Green’s surgery would likely have on his career in this piece, “The Shawn Green of Old Will Not Return.” Green actually fared better than the title predicted, hitting 28 home runs in 2004, though 18 of those came after the All-Star Break. He hit 47 more home runs the rest of his career.

What the long-term effects of Kemp’s injury will be, I don’t know. Perhaps he’ll kick the home-run power into gear starting tonight. But we can’t be surprised if his four-bagger forays take time to resurrect.

Apr 23

Billingsley loses longshot bet, headed for surgery

Look, it didn’t take hindsight to question Chad Billingsley’s decision to put off the Tommy John surgery the Dodgers announced he will now get Wednesday. The guy made an optimistic gambit and lost. It’s unfortunate, but far be it from me to criticize someone betting on himself.

Though Stephen Fife takes his spot in the rotation for now and Chris Capuano will move back in once his calf is healed, I think there is a strong possibility we’ll see minor-leaguers Matt Magill or Zach Lee before the summer’s out.

Dodgers at Mets, 4:10 p.m.
Kershaw CLIV: Kershawnce Upon a Time in America

Carl Crawford, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Justin Sellers, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

 

Apr 21

Billingsley heads to disabled list, Fife recalled

No, really – just keep pouring it on.

This moming, the Dodgers placed Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow pain (retroactive to April 16). Stephen Fife – ninth on the Dodgers’ starting-pitcher depth chart when the season began three weeks ago – will start today’s game in Baltimore, trying to help the Dodgers end their six-game losing streak.

Fife has started three games for Triple-A Albuquerque this year, posting a 4.61 ERA in 13 2/3 innings with 20 hits allowed, three walks and 14 strikeouts. As a major-leaguer, Fife had a 2.70 ERA in five starts covering 26 2/3 innings in 2012, with 25 hits and 12 walks allowed against 20 strikeouts.

Fife’s longest outing this season so far is five innings, in the game he last pitched, Monday at Iowa. He allowed four runs and struck out eight, throwing 91 pitches.

We’re waiting for details on the timing of Billingsley’s trip to the DL. The right-hander, of course, eschewed surgery last year despite missing the final six weeks of the season with his elbow problem. He has a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings this year with 12 hits allowed, five walks and six strikeouts.

By the way, 21-year-old former first-round pick Zach Lee has a 1.17 ERA after four starts for Double-A Chatanooga this year, allowing 26 baserunners in 23 innings while striking out 21. (His teammate, Yasiel Puig, is on the seven-day minor-league disabled list with a sprained thumb.)

Update: “Chad Billingsley is not making his scheduled start today due to increased tightness and pain in his right elbow that he experienced during his last bullpen session,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “After consulting Dr. Neal ElAttrache, it was decided that he will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for further medical evaluation. More information will be forthcoming after that examination.”

Dodgers at Orioles, 10:35 a.m.

Carl Crawford, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Skip Schumaker, DH
Justin Sellers, SS
(Stephen Fife, P)

Oct 07

Expectant papa A.J. Ellis on mend after knee surgery

A.J. Ellis is recovering from surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee, according to his wife Cindy on Twitter. Ellis needs to get well soon because Cindy is expecting their next child in two weeks. Best wishes to all!

 

Sep 18

Clayton Kershaw update

Statement from the Dodgers at 3:30 p.m.:

Today, Clayton Kershaw was examined by Dr. Bryan Kelly at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Dr. Kelly is one of the premier hip specialists in the country and agreed with Dr. ElAttrache’s opinion that Clayton has an impingement of the right hip. (This is when the joint is pinched during rotation of the hip while pitching) Dr. Kelly feels that Clayton can continue to pitch if pain allows without doing further damage to his hip. However, Clayton will not be allowed to pitch if he continues to have hip pain. He will re-start his throwing program today.

We will continue the process of seeking other hip specialist’s opinions and have already sent his MRI’s and other tests to those doctors for their opinions.

Sep 05

Billingsley’s season is over

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Mark Ellis, 2B
Shane Victorino, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Aaron Harang, P

The Dodgers placed Chad Billingsley on the 60-day disabled list, ending his 2012 season after one of the hottest stretches of his career. He finishes with a 3.55 ERA (107 ERA+).

Coming to the team is left-handed reliever Steven Rodriguez from Double-A Chattanooga. Drafted just this past June from Florida, Rodriguez had 22 strikeouts against 14 baserunners in 13 2/3 innings.

* * *

First thing Thursday, I’m headed to the Toronto Film Festival, where I will be spending six days seeing movies, conducting interviews and writing for Variety. It’s going to be a murderous schedule, so rather than have this site go completely dormant, I’ve conscripted Bob Timmermann to take the reins. Enjoy, and here’s hoping things are looking bright for the Dodgers when I return.

Sep 04

More bullpen woes: Javy Guerra injures oblique

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXLV: Kershawncle Bill the Sailor
Mark Ellis, 2B
Shane Victorino, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

Javy Guerra, who has allowed 13 baserunners in 12 1/3 innings with a 0.00 ERA since July 28, has been placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.

That move, coming even with rosters expanded in September, hints that Guerra is not likely to see much action for the remainder of the regular season, if any.

Guerra pitched one game following his recall from Albuquerque, retiring three of four batters on Sunday. Josh Wall, the closer for playoff-bound Albuquerque, has been brought up to shore up the depleted Dodger bullpen.

* * *

Tonight, Clayton Kershaw faces old friend Eric Stults. The lefty, now 32, has a 2.43 ERA in 63 innings for San Diego, 1.86 since July.

* * *

Update: Steve Dilbeck of the Times tweets the following: “Kenley Jansen to stay on blood thinners 10 more days, hopes to return Sept. 17; plans offseason surgery to fix heart problem.”

 

Aug 24

Billingsley leaves in fourth with injury

With one out in the top of the fourth inning and a 6-3 Dodger lead over the Marlins, Dodger starter Chad Billingsley left the game with an undisclosed injury.

Billingsley, with a 1.30 ERA in six starts since coming off the disabled list, gave up a two-run home run in the first inning to Jose Reyes tonight and allowed seven baserunners among the 17 batters he faced, striking out one. (Update: Jamey Wright replaced Billingsley with a 2-0 count and walked the batter – that walk was also charged to Billingsley.)

Billingsley walked off the mound immediately after throwing a low-and-outside pitch to Gorkys Hernandez. Head trainer Sue Falsone visited with Billingsley and a contingent of Dodgers at the mound before escorting him to the clubhouse. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt pointed to the elbow.

Aug 23

Surgeries for all!

“And you get an operation! And you get an operation!”

Blake Hawksworth, who hasn’t been able to throw a major-league pitch this year, had shoulder surgery Wednesday and is going to miss all of 2013 as well, reports Alex Angert of MLB.com.

But that’s not all. Jerry Hairston Jr. is going to miss the remainder of the season with hip surgery, though he is scheduled to be ready for the start of next season.

Here’s more from Steve Dilbeck of Dodgers Now:

… Head trainer Sue Falsone said Tuesday that Hairston would likely be examined by a couple more hip specialists before the exact nature of his potential surgery was determined, but it would likely involve an arthroscopic procedure similar to what is more commonly performed on shoulders. …

He said the hip had been bothering him to some degree for almost two months, and he had only five hits in his last 38 at-bats. …

* * *

  • In the Dodgers’ next game, Nathan Eovaldi will start against his former teammates, opposing Chad Billingsley. Aaron Harang was given an extra two days of rest, moving to Sunday.
  • Framework has a classic 1964 picture of Willie Davis.
Jul 29

Rubby De La Rosa to join Lilly in rehab assignment

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Kershaw CXXXVIII: Kershamen Corner
Mark Ellis, 2B
Juan Rivera, LF
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

Just shy of the anniversary of his August 9 Tommy John surgery, Dodger righty Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to pitch his first rehabilitation outing today for Class A Rancho Cucamonga – along with lefty Ted Lilly, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

De La Rosa would be a candidate to pitch out of the bulllpen sometime in the season’s final two months, before re-emerging as a starting rotation candidate in 2013. The 23-year-old last appeared in a game July 31.

Elsewhere …

  • Nathan Eovaldi is undefeated as a Miami Marlin after allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings to the Padres on Saturday. From Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

    … “His stuff was electric,” said catcher John Buck, who was behind the plate. “His fastball jumped out of his hand. His location was good, not afraid to throw in on either side of the plate. He threw a cutter pretty good [Saturday], and this was only his second game throwing it. What I saw today was pretty nasty.”

    Buck said that in his nine years of catching he’s encountered only one other pitcher who, when going over the scouting reports for opposing hitters, seemed to know exactly what he was doing.

    “That was Zack Greinke,” Buck said. “For a young guy, that’s a big step.” …

  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven has a couple of fun posts, including a link to Tommy Lasorda telling Jeremy Rosenberg of KCET about his move to Los Angeles and another featuring an interview with oldest living Dodger Mike Sandlock.
  • From the Dodger press notes: “The Dodgers would like to extend their condolences to the family of former Brooklyn Dodger and Pittsburgh Pirate Ed Stevens, who passed away at the age of 87 last Sunday in Houston, TX. Stevens hit 10 home runs and collected 60 RBI in 1946 and came to camp in 1947 expecting to be the Dodgers’ starting first baseman. However, Branch Rickey had other ideas, promoting second baseman Jackie Robinson to play first and sending Stevens to Triple-A Montreal where he hit 27 homers and drove in 108 runs in his final year with the Dodger organization.”
  • The injury bug might have finally reached Rafael Furcal in St. Louis. Furcal, who was on pace to play in 154 games this season, has back discomfort, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • In the wake of the Seattle Mariners trading Ichiro to the New York Yankees, Larry Granillo offers historical details at Baseball Prospectus of the San Francisco Giants sending WIllie Mays to the New York Mets.
Jul 13

The resurrection of John Ely

One-time breath of fresh air John Ely is quietly having a stellar 2012, posting a 3.22 ERA in Triple-A Albuquerque with 9.7 strikeouts and 1.8 walks per nine innings. You just don’t see those stats with the Isotopes very often. James Bailey of Baseball America has more on the Pacific Coast League All-Star.

“It took a couple of years of getting my head beat off the wall a little bit in this league to try to figure it out a little bit,” Ely told Bailey. “The PCL can get to you, man. Ask anybody out here. It’s a tough league to pitch in with the travel and the ballparks and the matter that you’ve got some pretty darn good hitters in this league. I think I underestimated it a little and I probably didn’t take it quite as seriously as I should have.”

“A lot of it has to do with staying ahead and basically just throwing my best pitches when I have to throw them,” Ely added. “You know, making pitches when you need to and realizing, ‘OK, this is what I want to do with this pitch right now.’ ”

Though the Dodgers’ rumored trade-market pursuits include starting pitching, Ely would certainly seem to have some renewed value – either as a stopgap starter if the Dodgers still end up needing one, or as a trade chip.

* * *

  • Andre Ethier played in rehabiliation games Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to join Matt Kemp in tonight’s Dodger starting lineup, writes Alex Angert of MLB.com.
  • Ronald Belisario’s certainly got the right to go home to Venezuela during the All-Star break, but somehow it isn’t surprising that his return to the States was delayed, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com (pictured, right, with Ned Colletti). However, Belisario is expected to arrive for tonight’s game.
  • Yasiel Puig’s arrival in Arizona is documented by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
  • Kemp will be featured on the next edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, premiering Tuesday.
  • A midseason review of the Isotopes is provided by Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner.
  • It’s a quirk to say the least, but Zach Greinke of Milwaukee tonight will become the first pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive games, notes David Pinto of Baseball Musings. He faces James McDonald of Pittsburgh.
Jul 05

Thumbs down on Gordon’s health

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m.
Elian Herrera, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
Juan Rivera, 1B
Luis Cruz, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Nathan Eovaldi, P

Thumb surgery on a torn ligament in Dee Gordon’s thumb will sideline the Dodger shortstop for approximately six weeks, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes. Claiming the roster spot is reliever Javy Guerra, who has been activated from the disabled list.

On the night that Mark Ellis makes his first start at second base in nearly seven weeks, the Dodgers will move forward with Luis Cruz at short and joining the ranks of obscure but memorable No. 5 hitters.

Jerry Hairston Jr., who played so well at third base early in the season before declaring he wasn’t comfortable there (he could have fooled me), will make his first start at that position since May 29.

* * *

Below is an 11-minute Forbes interview with Irwin Raij, who advised the Guggenheim group on their Dodger purchase. The link comes from Eric Young, my one-time Stanford Daily colleague and not the former Dodger.

Jul 04

Mark Ellis activated as Andre Ethier heads to DL

Reds at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Luis Cruz, 3B
Bobby Abreu, LF
James Loney, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Elian Herrera, CF
Matt Treanor, C
Aaron Harang, P

Though he is not in today’s starting lineup, Mark Ellis has been activated, completing a rather remarkable recovery from the leg injury he suffered May 18. Andre Ethier went on the disabled list and will be eligible to return after next week’s All-Star Game.

Todd Coffey has probably pitched his last game as a Dodger – he has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will have Tommy John surgery that will sideline him for approximately a year. The Dodgers will no doubt pay $300,000 to buy out Coffey’s $2.5 million option for 2013.

Late Tuesday, the Dodgers signed second-round draft choice Steven Rodriguez, a left-handed reliever from Florida. Rodriguez has been pegged by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com as one of two 2012 major-league draft picks closest to the majors, with speculation he could be in the bigs as soon as late this season.

Jul 03

Uribe’s pursuit of Andruwza Line continues

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Bobby Abreu, LF
Juan Rivera, RF
Adam Kennedy, 2B
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, 3B
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Chris Capuano, P

Juan Uribe’s journey to ignominy looked like it might make another rest stop at the disabled list, with the infielder having sprained his right ankle while getting thrown out on the bases in Monday’s 8-2 Dodger loss to Cincinnati. However, Uribe is back in tonight’s Dodger starting lineup, thrilling legions of Dodger fans.

With Mark Ellis nearing a return from the DL at second base, the timing for a Uribe injury wouldn’t have been so bad (if it could ever be). His 2012 OPS has fallen to .539, below last year’s .557 and only 34 points above the Andruwza Line of .505, established by Andruw Jones in 2008.

In fact, Uribe is ahead of Jones’ pace — the latter came off the disabled list on Independence Day four years ago with a .543 OPS (unless you take into account the entirety of Uribe’s 119-game Dodger career, in which case his OPS skies to .551).

Update: Uribe was scratched from the Dodger lineup shortly before 4 p.m. and replaced at third base by Luis Cruz.

Update 2: Todd Coffey has gone on the disabled list, with Shawn Tolleson headed back to Los Angeles for the time being, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times. Uribe is day-to-day.

Meanwhile, Andre Ethier is probably headed to the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.

* * *

  • Dodger prospect Raydel Sanchez threw seven innings of no-hit ball for Great Lakes on Monday.
  • The legend of the 21st-century Billy Hamilton grows. In his 78th game of the year Monday, the Reds minor-leaguer stole his 100th base.
  • Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post and Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation provides an update on the Rockies’ attempt to move to a short-outing four-man starting rotation. “Through the first 10 games of the grand experiment,” writes Renck, “the Rockies’ rotation, on a flexible 75-pitch limit that will grow if the starters become more effective and more durable, posted an 8.56 ERA, compared with a 6.28 ERA for the starters in the season’s first 65 games.”