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.
Aug 01

Nope – it’s Abreu

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 12:10 p.m.
Shane Victorino, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Matt Kemp, CF
Hanley Ramirez, 3B
Juan Rivera, 1B
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
Luis Cruz, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Stephen Fife, P

Well, I was wrong. The Dodgers have designated Bobby Abreu for assignment to make room on the roster for Shane Victorino.

Abreu OPSed .905 in his first 33 games as a Dodger, through June 11, but since then the outfielder has been 16 for 90 with 11 walks and two extra-base hits in 37 games for a .490 OPS.

I’m genuinely surprised. In this money-is-no-object era for the Dodgers, I still see more potential for Abreu to help in the stretch run than Juan Uribe.

* * *

  • Victorino will wear No. 8 with the Dodgers, with Don Mattingly switching to No. 12. The switch-hitting Victorino is wearing the same number as the switch-hitting Reggie Smith did as a Dodger in the 1970s. Smith took No. 8 because Steve Yeager already had the outfielder’s preferred No. 7.
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus ranked the prospects traded at the deadline this week. Ethan Martin is 11th, Scott McGough 24th, Logan Bawcom 25th and Leon Landry 30th out of 43.
  • Goldstein also produced a new ranking of the top 50 prospects in baseball, with Zach Lee on the list at 47.
  • In the wake of Martin’s departure, the Dodgers promoted Andres Santiago to Double-A Chattanooga, reports Robert Emrich for MLB.com. The 22-year-old righty had a 1.76 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 41 innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in July, while allowing only 21 hits and nine walks.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. had an obscure but memorable throw, captured by Chad Moriyama.
  • Buster Olney names 10 leading August trade candidates in his column for ESPN.com.
  • This past weekend, I discussed Chad Billingsley’s season-long improvement in throwing strikes. At Fangraphs, Michael Barr delves deeper, noting that Billingsley is “going to his four seam fastball far more regularly and he’s almost abandoned his cutter.”
  • A year after it happened, the Trayvon Robinson trade gets a positive review from Scott Andes at Lasorda’s Lair.
  • Dodger Stadium cuisine was recently reviewed by Jeanne Fratello of the Jolly Tomato.
  • Former Dodger general manager Dan Evans had a post-deadline live chat today at Baseball Prospectus.
  • Houston finished July with a 3-24 record, the worst July any team has had in at least 50 years, notes David Pinto of Baseball Musings.
  • With no further introduction, a recent piece from Josh Wilker.
Jul 05

Ever say never? Never again, ever

Never let anyone tell you that Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera can’t homer in the same game.

Never let anyone tell you that Nathan Eovaldi can’t leave a six-inning start with a lead.

Never let anyone – particularly Jerry Hairston Jr. – tell you Jerry Hairston Jr. can’t be comfortable at third base.

And never let anyone tell you the Giants are a lock with a 5-1 seventh-inning lead over the Nationals and Matt Cain pitching.

The Dodgers have won four of five games since their seven-game losing streak ended, thanks to scoring four of five runs tonight against Arizona. They lead San Francisco by 1 1/2 games in the National League West and the Diamondbacks by seven.

Never-to-play-again Mark Ellis doubled, singled and walked, while Luis Cruz singled twice, providing the offensive support alongside the Penn-and-Teller home-run hitters, Van Slyke and Herrera. Each pitching for the third night in a row, Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen closed it out again.

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.

Jun 23

Dodger Defcon ratings

Starting today, I’m making periodic contributions to the CityThink blog at Los Angeles Magazine. My first piece looks at the state of the Dodgers from a War Games perspective. Check it out …

Good teams have bad weeks, and one bad week like the Dodgers are having (with four losses in a row, including Friday’s 8-5 come-from-ahead defeat against the Angels) doesn’t ruin a season. At the same time, people have feared all along that the Dodgers are a team living on the brink of destruction in a dangerous baseball world.

In the spirit of War Games, here’s a snapshot of which Dodger problems are tic-tac-toe and which are global thermonuclear war …

Read the rest at CityThink …

Jun 09

Where Jerry Park meets Clayton Place: Dodgers roll, 8-3

And to think the Dodgers and their fans thought they had a supersub over the past two years in Jamey Carroll.

Jerry Hairston Jr. continued his world-beating tour of 2012 on Saturday, delivering a home run and two doubles in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory over Seattle. Thirteen days after knocking a career-high five hits, the 36-year-old Hairston drove in a career-high five runs, including a three-run home run smashed down the line in left in the first inning that put the Dodgers ahead for good.

In 101 plate appearances this season, Hairston has a .435 on-base percentage and .525 slugging percentage, which puts him on pace to become one of the best Dodger reserves in many a moon. Since the franchise’s last World Series title in 1988, according to Baseball-Reference.com, the only true Dodger reserve to have a higher adjusted OPS in a single season than what Hairston has so far in 2012 is Dave Hansen.

Hairston managed to overshadow Clayton Kershaw, who got the win after striking out 12 in seven innings today. There have been “What’s wrong with Kershaw” mutterings this season, which might have revived after he gave up a three-run home run today to Miguel Olivo in the fourth inning. Given his new battle with plantar fasciitis, I might have been ready to join in had something gone wrong today, and I can’t say I’ve stopped worrying that something will.

But let’s now compare Kershaw’s current stats with last year’s through June 9, 2011.

Year	G	IP	ERA	OPS	K/9	WHIP
2011	14	91.67	3.44	.605	10.0	1.15
2012	13	88.33	2.65	.610	8.3	1.00

Kershaw’s 2011 numbers were inflated by consecutive outings to start June in which he allowed six runs apiece.  The flawless Kershaw that won the Cy Young Award didn’t really kick into gear until after this point of the season. So yeah, his 2012 strikeouts show a decline, but overall, Kershaw is actually off to a better start.

That, combined with Ronald Belisario, who pitched another shutout inning, practically filling the role of 2010 Hong-Chih Kuo (his ERA now sits at 1.10), Todd Coffey lowering his ERA to 3.18 since coming off the disabled list with a shutout ninth, and a 14-hit attack on offense, meant the Dodgers could put the memories of Friday’s no-hit loss far behind them.

May 25

Hairston activated as Sellers joins DL-go-round

Astros at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXXVI: Kershaw I Met Your Mother

Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Elian Herrera, 2B
Bobby Abreu, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
James Loney, 1B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dee Gordon, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

Jerry Hairston Jr. makes a welcome return from the disabled list and into the Dodger starting lineup tonight.

His roster spot is being vacated by Justin Sellers, who is suffering from the unpleasantness of a bulging disc. Hariston and Elian Herrera will serve as the backups at shortstop, though neither has much familiarity with the position of late.

May 11

Hairston to the disabled list

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Bobby Abreu, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Matt Treanor, C
Chris Capuano, P

Jerry Hairston Jr., the Dodgers’ third-most valuable position player this season according to Baseball Prospectus, has gone on the disabled list (retroactive to May 7).

Justin Sellers has been recalled for his second stint with the 2012 club.

Apr 20

Hairston’s unbelievable defensive hot streak

© Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt Kemp has reached base four times in seven innings tonight, including his eighth home run with a runner on in the first inning, and Andre Ethier singled home a run in the third, but how incredible has Jerry Hairston Jr. been at third base tonight and in the past three games?

Fans of defense, click and enjoy.

Wednesday, seventh inning: Diving backhand catch of Jonathan Lucroy liner with none out, score tied 2-2.

Thursday, eighth inning: With runners at second and third (tying run at third base), diving stop and throw from his knees to retire Alex Gonzalez.

Thursday, ninth inning: Barehand pick of Travis Ishikawa bunt, throwing him out with the Dodgers leading by one run.

Tonight, third inning: Runs down hard-hit ball off his glove, slide-stops and fires to second base to nail Jose Altve.

Tonight, fifth inning: With bases loaded in a two-run game, corrals grounder behind third base and dives at the bag to tag out J.D. Martinez.

Update: The Dodgers wasted some scoring opportunities, letting the Astros stay close, but still eked out a 3-1 victory. Ted Lilly walked six in six innings but allowed just the one run, while Josh Lindblom, Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra combined to strike out six in their three shutout innings.

Apr 19

Happy Hairston, Jazzy Jamey save Dodgers

Matt Kemp hit his seventh home run, but he’s not stealing the spotlight today. That goes to Jamey Wright and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Wright entered a one-run game in the seventh inning and struck out the first five batters he faced, before essentially turning the game over to Hairston.

The utility infielder, who has made an early case to be this year’s Jamey Carroll, made sensational plays in both the eighth and ninth innings to help the Dodgers hang on to a 4-3 victory at Milwaukee today.

In the eighth, with the tying run at third base, Hairston made a diving stop and from his knees threw out Alex Gonzalez. If a Dodger third baseman makes a better play this year, I’ll be surprised.

The next Brewers batter, Travis Ishikawa, led off the ninth with a bunt that Hairston barehanded to throw Ishikawa out.

Javy Guerra put the demons of Tuesday behind him, striking out the next two batters — giving Dodger relievers seven strikeouts in three innings — for the victory.

Kemp had a single to go with his home run, while Andre Ethier singled and doubled. Both players now sit at 18 RBI.

Juan Rivera had the Dodgers’ other RBI hit, while Matt Treanor had a sacrifice fly to go with a triple.

In his first game since striking out 13, including nine in a row, Aaron Harang went six innings and allowed three runs on nine baserunners with four strikeouts.

Wright has now faced 16 batters this season. They are 0 for 12 with four walks and six strikeouts.

Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun had the game-winning sacrifice fly Wednesday but otherwise went 0 for 11 against Los Angeles in the series.

Mar 29

One for the bullish

My longtime friend, former Stanford Daily colleague and all-around smarter-than-your-average bear Mark Rogowsky has analyzed the Dodger sale and comes to the conclusion that the finances more than hold up. It’s lengthy but definitely worth your time. Read it here.

* * *

  • Bill Shaikin of the Times was interviewed by PBS News Hour about the Dodger sale. Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy passes along the video.
  • Frank McCourt’s farewell e-mail to Dodger employees was posted by Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com.
  • Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles offers a San Francisco perspective on the Dodger sale.
  • Featuring a big giant graphic, Beyond the Box Score looks at the Dodgers’ roster commitments between now and 2017.
  • Third-generation major-leaguer Jerry Hairston Jr. talked to J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News about the connection between Jackie Robinson and Magic Johnson.
  • The Dodgers released minor-leaguer Jared Lansford, son of Carney Lansford, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, after barely a month in the organization.
  • At age 28, Chin-Lung Hu failed his physical with the Phillies, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The New York Times gives the background on its 1966 story that inspired the opening scene of the season premiere of Mad Men.
Mar 19

Kuo’s future again uncertain after release by Mariners

Hong-Chih Kuo’s future as a major-leaguer grew darker still today, when he was released by the Seattle Mariners with a 17.55 ERA in six appearances. If he clears waivers, he could end up with any team on a minor-league contract – including the Dodgers, as Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles notes.

The Dodgers “would be willing to listen if Kuo and his agent, Alan Chang, were to approach them, a team source said on condition of anonymity after Kuo was released on Monday by the Seattle Mariners, for whom he had struggled all spring,” Jackson wrote.

“I think (Kuo) just needs more time,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge told Greg Johns of MLB.com. “You’d see times when he’d find it, but he just wasn’t able to be consistent with it. And with where we are in camp and the decisions we have to make, he just wasn’t going to be part of the puzzle initially.”

* * *

  • Former Great Lakes Loons teammates Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Santana excelled for the Dodgers and Indians today in Cleveland’s 4-3 victory, notes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Kershaw allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts (but still took the loss), while Santana hit a monster home run off Javy Guerra in the sixth.
  • Jerry Hairston made two more errors at shortstop and is now fielding .556 at the position this spring. Meanwhile, Justin Sellers went 3 for 4.
  • The Stanley Gold-Roy Disney ownership group was reinstated into the bidding for the Dodgers by a mediator, making the quartet of finalists a quintet, according to Bill Shaikin of the Times.
  • Dodger Sims looks at different projection systems, including its own, and finds the Dodgers most likely to win between 78 and 82 games this season.
  • From the same source, vote on your favorite Dodgers in a tourney-style bracket here.
  • The Dodgers are one of 19 major-league teams to ban alcohol in their home clubhouse, reports Kevin Baxter of the Times.
  • With Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria headed for Tommy John surgery, more will probably be asked of Jonathan Broxton. Either Broxton or Greg Holland will inherit the Royals’ closer spot, writes Dick Kaegel of MLB.com.
  • Jamie Moyer’s bid to make the Colorado starting rotation at age 49 took a blow today when he allowed four runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings against Arizona’s Triple-A team, notes D.J. Short of Hardball Talk.
  • Here’s a nice interview by Alex Belth of Bronx Banter with Paul Haddad, author of High Fives, Pennant Drives and Fernandomania. More audio clips of Vinny, too!
Mar 13

Bandersnatch!

‘Twas brillig for our suddenly slithy toves the Dodgers, who had only made three errors all spring but got three errors from their shortstops alone today, accounting for two unearned runs in a 5-2 loss to Colorado.

Jerry Hairston Jr. did gyre and gimble in the wabe, making two of the errors while going 0 for 2. The poor day raised questions among the Jabberwock about whether Hairston could rise to the occasion should something decidedly unmimsy happen to Dee Gordon (who also made an error today). To which I offer these uffish thoughts:

1) One game is one game.
2) The plan to confine superior defensive shortstop Juan Uribe to third base isn’t all that likely to hold throughout the season.
3) Justin Sellers is likely to be the true backup shortstop at this point, whether he’s in the majors or the minors, so why so slithy?

Taking the vorpal blade of that last point, there’s surprise being expressed that Jerry Sands might not make the Opening Day roster and will instead be sent to rest by the Tumtum tree. Nonsense. Sands needed something of a perfect storm to come whiffling through the tulgey wood April 5: a solid spring at the plate combined with legitimate fears that Andre Ethier, James Loney or Juan Rivera wouldn’t be everyday players. But we knew all along that all three of those veterans were being handed those jobs to lose, and that Sands might easily be marginalized come the frabjous day.

* * *

  • Sandy Koufax could testify at the Bernie Madoff-related New York Mets trial, reports The Associated Press.
  • Larry Granillo explores a scary on-field 1969 incident involving Jesus Alou at Baseball Prospectus.
  • Monday in Jon SooHoo: Matt Kemp and young fan.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: Orel Hershiser and a pre-6-foot-8 Jordan Hershiser.