Mar 03

Hitting prospects Silverio, Songco sidelined

Minor-league center fielder Alfredo Silverio, considered by some the Dodgers’ top position-player prospect, will be sidelined indefinitely as he recovers from a serious January car accident in the Dominican Republic. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. and Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported initial details, and Jackson has a follow-up.

… In short, the kid is lucky. From talking to various people (still haven’t been able to talk to Silverio), this is what I have been able to cull: the accident happened on a stretch of road called Curva de la Muerte, which translates to Curve of Death. Apparently, he was going about 60 mph and lost control, the car going off the road and flipping several times. He temporarily lost consciousness, and the car was demolished. …

Silverio, 25 in May, had a .883 OPS for Double-A Chattanooga last year.

Meanwhile, Angelo Songco “is expected to miss the next two to three months after having a rod inserted into his lower right leg,” Jackson adds, the results of complications from a 2011 injury. Now 23, Songco had a .948 OPS for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

* * *

  • The boys in the press corp also confirmed that Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch the season opener in San Diego on April 5 and the home opener in Los Angeles on April 10. An off day follows the Dodgers’ first four games, meaning that the No. 5 starter, probably Chris Capuano, will be in the bullpen for the first series of the year. The last Dodger pitcher to start a road Opening Day and a subsequent home opener was Tim Belcher in 1989, in part because Orel Hershiser had the flu.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: Kirk Gibson and Hershiser in that spring of ’89.
  • Dee Gordon had to get stitches on his lip today following a bad-hop grounder, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times.
  • Blake DeWitt, at age 26, has earned the moniker “professional hitter” from Cubs manager Dale Sveum, according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com.
  • Manager Pedro Guerrero? Oh yeah …
  • Adrian Beltre, bathroom trendsetter? Okay …

 

Feb 21

Top o’ the lineup to ya

While I might do unconventional things with batting orders to try to maximize offense, I’m not someone who gets worked up a whole lot about them. With some batting order discussion taking place on the first day of Spring Training for the Dodgers, I’ll offer my two cents, and then probably leave the subject alone.

Projected Dodger
Opening Day
batting order

L Dee Gordon, SS
R Mark Ellis, 2B
R Matt Kemp, CF
L Andre Ethier, RF
R Juan Rivera, LF
L James Loney, 1B
R Juan Uribe, 3B
R A.J. Ellis, C
L Clayton Kershaw, P

Alternative Dodger
Opening Day
batting order

L Dee Gordon, SS
R A.J. Ellis, C
L Andre Ethier, RF
R Matt Kemp, CF
L James Loney, 1B
R Juan Rivera, LF
R Juan Uribe, 3B
L Clayton Kershaw, P
R Mark Ellis, 2B

We start off with Tuesday’s news that Dodger manager Don Mattingly said Dee Gordon would be his leadoff hitter and Matt Kemp would bat third, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.

“Mattingly said (Andre) Ethier would likely hit cleanup against right-handed pitchers and that Juan Rivera could hit cleanup against lefties,” Stephen adds. “Mattingly said Mark Ellis will get the first shot at batting second, though Mattingly wouldn’t mind James Loney or even (Jerry) Sands hitting in the second spot in the lineup.”

Gordon is a dubious choice to lead off because of his on-base deficiencies, but I’m going to ignore that for the time being because he’s still too enticing to think about as a sparkplug – cliched or not – and the Dodgers aren’t exactly chock full of OBP-skilled alternatives.

More interesting to me is the choice for the No. 2 slot. I can see the arguments for Mark Ellis, Loney or Sands, but I’m not sure they’re any better than the arguments for A.J. Ellis.

The Dodger starting catcher’s on-base percentages for his past two seasons in the majors are .363 and .392. Sure, that might not hold up over extended playing time, but I’d at least be interested in testing it out. A No. 2 hitter who walks about as much as he strikes out seems right to me for this team (assuming the Dodgers aren’t willing to recall the age of Paul Lo Duca and bat their catcher leadoff).

You’d have to get over A.J.’s lack of speed coming right in front of Kemp, but it’s not as if anyone but Gordon should really be trying to steal with Kemp at the plate anyway.

Loney has always seemed made like a good No. 2 hitter to me, but the problem is that using him there would stack two of the Dodgers’ three left-handed regulars together, which is not what I want to see, especially late in a game.

I’m gathering that A.J. Ellis won’t see a first-inning at-bat much this year, but certainly, batting him eighth, behind a guy like Juan Uribe, seems like a mistake. But, wherever they’re hitting, these guys are going to have to produce.

Other notes before night turns into later that night …

  • The efforts of Kemp and Tony Gwynn Jr. to help lure Prince Fielder to the Dodgers are detailed by Dylan Hernandez of the Times and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. From Hernandez:

    … Kemp said he actively recruited Prince Fielder over the winter and was convinced he would be in the same lineup as the former home-run champion in the upcoming season.

    “I was getting real confident in our chances of getting him,” Kemp said.

    Kemp said he spoke to Fielder several times.

    “I knew we were getting pretty close,” he said. “I didn’t know Detroit was in.” …

  • Comeback Player of the Year ballot candidate Ronald Belisario reported to Spring Training on time for the first time as a Dodger, notes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Zach Lee is the Dodgers’ top-ranked prospect by Baseball America at No. 62, followed by Allen Webster at No. 95 and Nathan Eovaldi at 96.
  • Ted Lilly became a father to his second child, Nora Grace, and was therefore excused from reporting to Camelback Ranch today, according to Hernandez. Congrats to the Lillys.
  • You’ve probably already seen this, but really did enjoy this Deadspin piece by Erik Malinowski on the making of The Simpsons‘ “Homer at the Bat.”
  • Potential Dodger owner Magic Johnson has another big enterprise on his mind – the founding of a new cable network, Aspire. Details from Jill Goldsmith at Variety.
  • Mike Axisa of Fangraphs made an argument that catching scarcity meant the Yankees should offer Russell Martin a three-year, $30 million contract. Others will disagree.
  • There are some minor rules changes in Major League Baseball this year, including what may become known as the Sam Fuld Rule, reports The Associated Press. (via Baseball Musings).
  • Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos talked to AP today about the aftermath of his kidnapping. “I feel like I’m living again,” Ramos said.
  • If you’re interested, I posted a bunch of TV thoughts today at Variety On the Air.
  • According to Jackson, Kemp’s reaction to the possibility that the Dodgers will sell for upwards of $2 billion: “Who’s got that kind of money? I thought I was rich.”
Feb 08

Interview: De Jon Watson looks at Dodger prospects

Though the Dodger farm system certainly has its less fallow spots, it also certainly has its fertile areas, which were enough for ESPN.com’s Keith Law to rank it 12th in the majors, higher than I’ve seen elsewhere.

For a closer look at some of the Dodger developing prospects, I interviewed Dodger assistant general manager in charge of player development De Jon Watson recently for a piece that is running in full at ESPNLosAngeles.com. Here’s how it begins …

The patchwork roster surrounding established Los Angeles Dodgers stars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw this year would hint at a dearth of minor league chips to play with, but De Jon Watson would encourage you to ante up.

The Dodgers’ assistant general manager in charge of player development has more than a poker hand’s worth of serious starting pitcher candidates rising through the system, and would even argue for a few wild cards among the position players.

“It’s been good stuff, man,” Watson said of the franchise’s depth at starting pitcher. “Our kids are coming. It’s great to have that type of competition. … If you have a hiccup or someone goes down for a little bit, you have a legitimate option waiting in the wings. The key is being as sharp as they can possibly be when that opportunity arises so you really don’t miss a beat.”

That doesn’t change the Dodgers’ pattern of leaning toward veterans at the start of the season. With Hiroki Kuroda leaving as a free agent and the team’s 2010 minor league pitcher of the year, Rubby De La Rosa, recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers signed Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano rather than hand a starting rotation slot to Nathan Eovaldi, who had a 3.09 ERA in six starts at age 21 late last summer.

Shortstop Dee Gordon is the only 2011 Dodgers rookie who has the inside track on a starting spot with the team this season. Gordon, who had 24 stolen bases in 56 games and a .325 on-base percentage (.398 in September), will look to capitalize on his hot finish.

“The biggest thing to look for from him is going to be his on-base percentage,” Watson said, “because his speed is going to change how they pitch to the guy that’s behind him. He’s going to apply pressure both from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint for the opponent. So he has to get on base. For us, his key is understanding what type of hitter he is, understanding the strike zone.” …

In addition to Eovaldi, De La Rosa and Gordon, Watson also provides a status report on Jerry Sands, Zach Lee, Garret Gould, Allen Webster, Chris Withrow, Shawn Tolleson, Steven Ames, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Castellanos, Chris Reed and Pedro Baez.

Hope you enjoy reading the full story

Continue reading

Jan 09

De La Rosa progressing nicely in recovery

While I was parked at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, many of my online colleagues were out at Dodger Stadium for media day at the Dodgers’ Winter Development Camp. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles was one. Some excerpts:

… Instead of making a splash now, the Dodgers will likely do what they have done the last few seasons. Try to stay competitive in the first few months of the season in order to convince ownership to expand the payroll at the trading deadline.

“I think we’re in a decent spot right now to be competitive and to make more decisions in July,” (Ned) Colletti said. “There’s rarely a postseason team that doesn’t change along the road.” …

… Elsewhere, (Don) Mattingly said that RHP Rubby De La Rosa has looked good in limited action after undergoing Tommy John surgery this summer. The Dodgers hope he can return to throwing bullpen sessions sometime in March and pitching in games by the end of July.

“I feel good. It feels strong,” De La Rosa said. “It feels like six months have passed since the operation and it’s only been three.”

But wait, there’s more …

  • Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has video of Tommy Lasorda during batting practice telling prospect Matt Wallach to “pull the goddamned ball.”
  • Baly adds a bunch of photos in this post.
  • Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A. has a long list of notes from the camp.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the Times leads his notebook with a Dee Gordon update, while also noting that if and when De La Rosa pitches for the Dodgers this season, it will probably be in relief, before he returns to starting in 2013.
  • Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has a full recap. Here’s a portion:

    … Also rehabbing is infielder Justin Sellers, who suffered a serious groin pull while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Sellers said he’s still not 100 percent, but he was turning double plays with expected starting shortstop Dee Gordon on Monday.

    Working in the infield was Alex Castellanos, a natural power-hitting outfielder acquired from the Cardinals in the Rafael Furcal trade. Castellanos is still primarily an outfielder, but the Dodgers are trying him at second base, which they had to fill with the signing of free agent Mark Ellis because they weren’t willing to turn the position over to Sellers or Ivan DeJesus Jr.

    Also at the camp is catcher Tim Federowicz, who was a September callup, but Colletti said he’s likely to open the season in the Minor Leagues as the Dodgers plan to start the season with A.J. Ellis starting and Matt Treanor backing up. Federowicz was the key player acquired in the Trayvon Robinson trade.

    Colletti said he met in the Dominican with third baseman Juan Uribe. Colletti said Uribe knows he underperformed last year and understands the expectations for this year. Utilityman Jerry Hairston might share time at the position. Hairston also could see time in the outfield, especially when the Dodgers face left-handed pitching. When that happens, James Loney might be replaced at first base by left fielder Juan Rivera and Andre Ethier might give way to Jerry Sands. Mattingly said he wouldn’t call it a platoon, but one of the winter priorities was to add right-handed bats to give him more options against left-handed pitching. …

Oct 21

Remembering 2011: Dee Gordon


Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireDee Gordon (25)

The setup: Many branded Gordon the Dodgers’ shortstop of the future, but not without reservations. He had a .332 on-base percentage and .355 slugging percentage with 53 steals in 73 attempts and 37 errors for Double-A Chattanooga at age 22. This prediction from January rather accurately laid things out:

… In different circumstances, 2012 might seem to be the earliest Gordon would reach the majors, with a starting job not in sight for at least another year after that. However, 2011 likely marks the end of the six-year Rafael Furcal era, and by now it’s safe to expect that that era will include at least one more trip to the disabled list for the otherwise talented Dodger shortstop. While Jamey Carroll has shown he can fill in for Furcal, a prolonged absence conceivably could compel the Dodgers to accelerate Gordon’s timetable, allowing him to reach the majors this summer. …

The closeup: Yep, that’s what happened … not that it wasn’t still something of a shock when Gordon got the call to the majors June 6. Playing for Triple-A Albuquerque, he had a .361 on-base percentage and 22 steals in 25 attempts, but there was still the fear that this promotion was coming too soon and that the majors would eat Gordon up.

After making his debut as a pinch-runner (and scoring) that night in Philadelphia, Gordon got his first major-league start the next day. It certainly helps calm the naysayers when you get hits in your first three at-bats, as Gordon did. Gordon’s speed and defensive range and overall sparkle became immediately apparent, so much so that it encouraged one to be patient with his weaknesses.

That patience would be necessary. After starting out 14 for 43 (.326) with one walk and eight strikeouts in his first 10 starts, Gordon went into a 5 for 39 slump that left his OPS at .530. Nine steals in 12 attempts couldn’t make up for that. He would have games like this one on June 13 in which he’d electrify the offense in one moment and then make a critical error on defense in the next.

On July 1, Gordon became the first Dodger in 83 years to steal second, third and home in the same inning. But a few days later, when Rafael Furcal was activated from the disabled list, and Gordon was sent back to Albuquerque, it was easy to understand. The kid still had things to work on, and he needed to play every day.

Gordon came back to Los Angeles after St. Louis traded for Furcal, but his second stint was short-lived. He hurt his shoulder making an awkward tag on a rundown play August 6, aggravated the injury a few days later and ended up missing the rest of August. Again, as disappointing as this was, there was some upside in the possibility that Gordon might learn to take better care of his body.

In September, Gordon gave the Dodgers a treat. Playing 26 games in 28 days, Gordon had 42 hits — most in the National League — along with 12 steals in 16 attempts, seven doubles and a triple for an .850 OPS. He finished the 2011 major-league season with a .325 on-base percentage and 362 slugging percentage, and his 24 steals (in 31 attempts) tied for the most by a rookie in the NL. Of the 48 Dodgers who suited up in 2011, Gordon finished ninth in Value Over Replacement Player. For all his foibles, it’s hard to call this anything but an impressive debut.

Coming attractions: Gordon eliminated all doubt that he’ll be the starting shortstop when the calendar turns to 2012. Now, that doesn’t mean he has put the minors behind him forever — he could struggle with the bat as pitchers exploit his lack of walking ability and find himself back in training mode. But the best guess is that you’re looking at the Dodgers’ 6-man for the next several years. If he improves his defensive fundamentals and maintains that wonderful speed, the Dodgers can live with his offense at shortstop.

Sep 29

Is award a case of brains vs. Braun?

When I read the news release that Dee Gordon had been named National League Rookie of the Month, I didn’t get far before I realized that maybe he shouldn’t have won the award. Not that I wasn’t pleased for Gordon or happy with his performance, but the first player under “others receiving votes,” Washington catcher Wilson Ramos, had a higher on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Now, Ramos didn’t play as many games, and he didn’t have Gordon’s steals or his NL-high 42 hits, but it’s not as if I can’t see the case for the non-Dodger.

So when I see that Ryan Braun has been named NL Player of the Month for September, when Braun’s on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, RBI and runs created were lower than those of Matt Kemp (and other players), I feel I’m entitled to raise an eyebrow or three.

Note, by the way, that the confusing word “valuable” does not appear in the award.

It’s funny – I don’t really have my heart in this post (and I certainly don’t have any anger), because I happen to think Braun is a great player. That division-clinching home run he hit, boosting Milwaukee to its first title since the 1980s, is something Brewer fans will cherish for a long, long time. I know this because I still cherish the division-clinching home run Steve Finley hit in 2004, boosting the Dodgers to their first title since the 1990s.

But every time I told myself not to bother with this post, there was something else that told me that it was worth noting that Matt Kemp had a better September than the NL Player of the Month for September. And so that’s what I’m doing. (Also, I kind of liked the headline, whether or not it makes perfect sense.)

Sep 20

Best wishes to Derrick Hall

Tough news out of Arizona: Diamodbacks CEO and former Dodger executive Derrick Hall has prostate cancer. More from the Diamondbacks’ official site:

… A date for surgery to remove the tumors has not yet been scheduled. Hall underwent a series of tests recently and had a prostate biopsy performed on Sept. 14.

“I was informed by my doctor while in San Diego with the team Saturday,” Hall said. “I am fortunate the disease was caught in the early stages and expect a full recovery. I will use this news as an opportunity to educate and drive awareness, while hopefully saving more lives in the future. I am in great hands, and my family and I are confident we will get through this successfully. I notified all of my staff immediately and am eternally grateful for the overwhelming support, love and prayers.”

Hall underwent a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, which resulted in elevated numbers and then underwent the prostate biopsy. That test was diagnosed as positive and revealed cancerous tumors.

D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick is a prostate cancer survivor. …

* * *

    Congrats to Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illnesshe’s engaged! To his girlfriend! She finally bagged her a Homer.
  • Matt Kemp won the Dodgers’ Roy Campanella Award, “given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.” Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin, James Loney, Juan Pierre and Jamey Carroll are previous winners of the six-year-old trophy.
  • Frank McCourt winning his hearing on TV rights, Tony Gwynn Jr.’s close friendship and James Loney’s willingness to move to left field — all reasons to speculate about Prince Fielder coming to Los Angeles, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Manny Ramirez plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic this year, reports The Associated Press.
  • Tommy Lasorda will be in uniform as an honorary coach for the Dodgers’ home finale September 22, which happens to be the birthday of Lasorda, my daughter and Molly Knight.
  • From the Dodger press notes: Dee Gordon “is tied the for NL lead along with Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio with 28 September hits and ranks fifth on the circuit with a .373 batting average this month (28-for-75). The 23-year-old also leads the Majors with nine stolen bases in 17 September games and overall ranks second among NL rookies with 21 steals in 27 attempts (77.8%). Gordon went 3-for-4 on Sunday to extend his career-long hitting streak to six games and is batting .423 (11-for-26) since the run began on Sept. 13. He is batting .337 (35-for-104) in the season’s second half, which ranks sixth among NL qualifiers.”
  • Tonight’s matchup between Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum reunites two pitchers who, as of now, are in the top 20 in major-league history in adjusted ERA for starting pitchers (minimum 700 innings), according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Sep 12

Dee Gordon’s ‘ball three’ problem

Sometimes it’s really curious what happens after you say something out loud.

Sunday, after Dee Gordon struck out in his first at-bat of the Dodgers’ 8-1 loss to San Francisco, I mentioned the fact that (in addition to having only two career walks), Gordon had only seen ball three a total of 10 times in 156 career plate appearances.

Lo and behold, in his final times at bat Sunday, Gordon walked on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning and grounded out on a 3-2 pitch in the seventh.

As bad as Gordon’s walk totals are – and make no mistake, even though they increased 50 percent in his last game, they’re just awful – I’m not ready to pronounce them a career-killer. Gordon’s still only 23, he’s in the big leagues before he was supposed to be and his ungodly speed has definite value that helps compensate. If he can hold down the shortstop position, and if he can continue to develop as a hitter, he might be a Dodger regular for years to come.

It sure would be nice if he showed some walking ability, though – and his lack of power doesn’t excuse him completely. For example, Brett Butler in his first two seasons in the majors (1981-82) had seven extra-base hits and no home runs in 413 plate appearances, but still managed to walk 44 times while striking out 52. Gordon, in 159 plate appearances, is at three walks, 24 strikeouts.

Except for the walks, Butler’s rookie season was not that unlike Gordon’s – 145 plate appearances, .254 batting average, .317 slugging percentage, nine steals in 10 attempts. Butler then had a huge learning curve in his second year, hitting .217 and slugging .225 in 268 plate appearances while stealing 21 bases in 29 attempts, in a year that included a midseason demotion to Triple-A for six weeks. Be prepared …

Butler was considered one of the fastest young players in baseball in his day and went on to steal 558 bases in his career. It shows you the kind of skills that Gordon will have in his bid to overcome his walk issues that he already has twice as many steals as Butler, while also offering the (admittedly error-prone) ability to play a more important defense position.

The Dodgers and their fans might need as much patience with Gordon as the kid himself needs to show at the plate. Hopefully, the sheer excitement he brings to the game will help with that.

* * *

One more remembrance from a forgettable game: If you missed Juan Rivera’s circus play Sunday, here’s your chance to rectify that.

Sep 07

Run, don’t walk: The life of Dee Gordon

All-time single-season leaders in stolen base-walk ratio (minimum 100 plate appearances):

1) Infinity Gus Getz, 1916 Brooklyn Robins: nine steals, zero walks
2) 12.0 Joe Cannon, 1979 Toronto Blue Jays: 12 steals, one walk
3) 8.0 Dee Gordon, 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers: 16 steals, two walks

Dedicated pinch-runner Herb Washington has the most steals in a season without a walk: 29.

Source: Baseball-Reference.com.

Aug 06

Eovaldi shoulders the load in 5-3 win

Ross D. Franklin/APDee Gordon dives to tag Kelly Johnson, but ends up not sticking the landing.
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesNathan Eovaldi followed through on his first big-league start.

Hey #dodgerfans I’m gonna be ok, just tweaked my shoulder alittle bit…I’ll be back really soon!!!
Dee Gordon on Twitter

So, yeah, to lose Rubby De La Rosa and Dee Gordon in one week? That would have been unreal.

Instead, despite Gordon’s awkward tag on a rundown play in the third inning tonight that forced him out of the game following his thud on his right shoulder, the report is that he did not suffer a sprain or dislocation, and should be back in a few days (allowing for the math of Dodger medical reports).

And so a good first start for Nathan Eovaldi was not spoiled. The 21-year-old allowed two runs in five innings and was the winning pitcher in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over Arizona.

Eovaldi struck out two batters in a perfect first inning and was a strike away from re-feating in the second when Ryan Roberts worked out a walk. Eovaldi then allowed a single, another walk, and then a two-run single to opposing pitcher Joe Saunders that seemed like it had removed all the pixie dust from the youngster’s debut.

Instead, Eovaldi only faced one batter over the minimum (thanks in part to Gordon) for the remainder of his outing, striking out seven in all, and even got his own first major-league hit and run.

Eovaldi was said to be on a 90-pitch limit for the day, but came out after 77 when the Dodgers put together a two-run top of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. The bullpen allowed one run over four innings, with Scott Elbert giving Javy Guerra a rest and picking up his second save of the season.

Sunday, Clayton Kershaw pitches to try to give the Dodgers their first road sweep of 2011.

Aug 05

Gordon lights Dodgers’ fire in 7-4 victory


Mark J. Terrill/APAnd he shall be Trayvon. And he shall be a good man.

Short-lost Dodger prospect Trayvon Robinson not only singled, he made a dazzling catch over the left-field fence for Seattle in Anaheim in his major-league debut tonight.

At least the Dodgers still have Dee Gordon.

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesAndre Ethier congratulates Dee Gordon after the rookie scored the Dodgers’ first run.

Gordon laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line to start a six, count ‘em, six-run outburst in the third inning, and then outfought some ants for a diving grab in the seventh to help keep the Dodgers from blowing what remained of their lead, and Los Angeles outlasted Arizona, 7-4.

Gordon’s catch came with the bases loaded and the Dodgers’ 6-0 lead down to 6-3.  He dove to his right to catch a Justin Upton liner inches off the ground, then doubled up Sean Burroughs at second base.

Rod Barajas, whose two-run double capped the Dodgers’ scoring in the third inning, in the eighth became the third Dodger with double-digit home runs this year, giving the Dodgers an extra run to work with. After Mike MacDougal allowed a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth, Javy Guerra came on for a career-best four-out save.

The Dodgers had 11 hits and five walks, led by Juan Rivera’s perfect night (single and three walks), Casey Blake (3 for 5), Andre Ethier (single, double, walk) and Matt Kemp (single, walk). Chad Billingsley was charged with three runs in six innings. And, by the way, Tim Federowicz, who came in the Robinson deal, homered for Albuquerque tonight.

The Los Angeles youth movement continues Saturday with the promotion of Nate Eovaldi, whose contract was officially purchased by the Dodgers. John Ely was sent back to Albuquerque without pitching this week.

Jul 31

So, what’s Dee Gordon been up to?

Since being sent back to Albuquerque on July 4, Dee Gordon has had a .402 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage with eight steals in nine attempts. In 92 plate appearances, he had the same number of walks and triples: four.

There is little expectation for Gordon to be a quality hitter at this point in his career, but the hope is that these two months of major-league experience will help him get off to a faster start in 2012, when the Dodgers’ record mercifully returns to 0-0. In the meantime, enjoy the Roadrunner show.

Still a chance of more trades being announced: The non-waiver deadline is 1 p.m., and sometimes the news trickles out minutes later. And then, of course, there can be waiver trades after the deadline.

Jul 05

Gordon gets his stolen-base trifecta

From the Dodgers’ press notes:

Following a lengthy debate, official scorer Ed Munson has changed a seventh-inning fielder’s choice from last Friday night’s game in Anaheim to a stolen base for Dee Gordon. The scoring change gives Gordon nine steals on the season and makes him the first Dodger since Harvey Hendrick on June 12, 1928 to steal second, third and home in the same inning. The last Major Leaguer to accomplish the feat was Jayson Werth, who did so on May 12, 2009 vs. the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.

Did Bob Timmermann’s tweet play a role?

Jul 04

Dodgers add Velez to bench so that Gordon can play every day in minors

A day after sending Casey Blake to the disabled list and activating Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers gave Dee Gordon his ticket back to Albuquerque and purchased the contract of Eugenio Velez, who had a .371 on-base percentage and .463 slugging percentage while playing second base, third base and the outfield for the Isotopes.

The 29-year-old Velez has played 225 games in the majors, all with the Giants, for whom he had a .300 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage. He had his exhibition season with the Dodgers cut short this year by an ankle injury.

* * *

James Surowiecki’s Financial Page column for the New Yorker, “Dodger Mania,” turns out not to be about our local baseball team.

Jul 01

Dee Gordon steals second, (third), home and the show


Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesRoadrunner escapes again.

On a night that featured Tony Gwynn Jr. reaching base six times and Aaron Miles five, and Hiroki Kuroda pitching seven shutout innings, the spotlight was swiped by Dee Gordon, who stole second and home in the seventh inning and should have been credited with a steal of third in the same frame as well, if not for an arcane official scoring decision. Dodgers 5, Angels 0.

With Rafael Furcal due to return to the majors Sunday, Gordon, who also made a fantastic catch in the ninth, might be headed back to Albuquerque, though at this point that looks more like a career detour than a final destination.