Mar 18

Casey Blake remains sidelined, DL an increasing possibility

The Dodgers haven’t ruled out Casey Blake starting the season on the disabled list after all, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

* * *

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.

Mar 11

Nothing from nothing


After two 7-1 victories to start the week, the past few days have had a little something for everyone … meltdowns by the defense, the offense, Jonathan Broxton and Chad Billingsley. Health concerns. Mental mistakes. A feeding frenzy for the pessimistic (or realistic, if you wish).

I believe we call these teaching opportunities for the boys in blue.

Athletics 9, Dodgers 2

Highlights:

  • Aaron Miles and Matt Kemp continued their battle for the team home run lead, each hitting their second of the spring to tie Rod Barajas and Jerry Sands.
  • Blake Hawksworth pitched a near-fllawless 1 2/3 relief innings, though he hit one batter with a pitch.
  • Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect sixth inning with a strikeout.
  • Tony Gwynn Jr. reached base twice and has a .360 spring on-base percentage.

Lowlights:

  • Billingsley had only allowed seven baserunners in 6 2/3 innings in March before an all-over-the-place performance today: four hits, four walks, four runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings.
  • Jay Gibbons went 0 for 3 to fall to 1 for 17.
  • Infielders Ivan DeJesus Jr., Justin Sellers and Christian Lara made errors.
  • Javy Guerra allowed four runs (two earned) and walked three in two-thirds of an inning.

Sidelights:

  • Kirk Gibson’s wife left Game 1 of the 1988 World Series early. Eric Stephen passes along the story at SB Nation.
  • Juan Castro and his wife Yadira became parents for the second time Thursday night.
  • Pitcher Luis Vasquez was optioned to the minors.
  • Former Dodger Andy LaRoche, playing shortstop today for Oakland, drove in two runs.
  • All members of Takashi Saito’s family in Japan are now accounted for, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
Mar 11

Concerns from Saito and Kuroda

Former Dodger reliever Takashi Saito has left Spring Training with the Milwaukee Brewers in an effort to try to reach his parents, whom he has not been able to contact since the Japan quake struck, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com also reports that Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has not reached his brother but believes him to be okay, but that Kuroda is concerned about such friends and former teammates as Kazuo Matsui and Akinori Iwamura.

At Inside the Dodgers, Josh Rawitch passes along his own concerns and best wishes.

* * *

Dodgers at A’s, 12:05 p.m.

Dec 28

Vince Lombardi on what winning really is

From the excellent HBO sports documentary “Lombardi”, here’s Vince Lombardi’s most famous quote in his own words — and his misgivings about it:

“Winning isn’t everything, but it’s the only thing. There is no second place. Either you’re first, or you’re last.”

[Interview: Jerry Izenberg, Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger]

He told me one day, “I wish to hell I’d never said that.” I said, “Well, don’t you believe it?” He said, “What I believe is, if you go out on a football field Sunday, or any other endeavor in life, and you leave every fiber of what you have on that field, when the game finally ends, then you’ve won, and to me that tells a lot more than the final score. And I never made that clear.”

* * *

  • At the end of the 2010 season, after all midseason spending was factored in, the Dodgers had the No. 9 payroll in the majors, according to Maury Brown at Fangraphs. The Dodgers spent $109.8 million. That was good for fourth in the National League, though the Dodgers finished with a better record than two of the three teams that spent more money: Philadelphia ($145.5 million), Chicago ($142.4 million) and New York ($127.6 million). San Francisco was 11th in the majors and fifth in the NL at $101.4 million. Texas reached the World Series with a $74.3 million payroll. The Dodgers’ end-of-year payroll in 2010 was 17 percent below their end-of-2009 payroll, according to Brown.
  • Takashi Saito signed a one-year contract with Milwaukee. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports the value at $2 million plus incentives.
  • A chart of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2010 has been posted at Beyond the Box Score by Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Dodgers will once again have their developmental minicamp for prospects at Dodger Stadium shortly after the New Year. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has details.
  • Gurnick also has an article on newlyweds Clayton and Ellen Kershaw taking a goodwill trip to Africa in January. Ellen has been to Africa four previous times.  As far as offseason workouts, Gurnick writes that Kershaw has been throwing for a month.
  • Don “Full Pack” Stanhouse has had a quite successful post-baseball career in business, writes Benjamin Pomerance in a long feature at Baseball Savvy.
  • Here’s more information about bunting in 2010 than you could ever dream of — featuring mentions of Clayton Kershaw and the possibility that Juan Pierre might be the majors’ most harmful bunter — from Lucas Apostoleris at Beyond the Box Score.
Oct 19

Colletti: Dodger player payroll to increase in 2011

The Dodgers held a mini-press opportunity tonight related to the Ted Lilly signing, and general manager Ned Colletti told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com and other reporters that the Dodger player payroll budget would rise for 2011, though he didn’t say by how much. So the news value here is: It’s not going down.

Elsewhere …

  • Some nice and arguably thrilling pictures of the Kirk Gibson auction items were posted by Roberto Baly at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy. Gibson is raising money for his foundation, which supports “Michigan State athletics and to help fund partial scholarships at the two Michigan high schools where his parents taught,” according to The Associated Press. Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News explores the question of why this stuff hasn’t gone to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Ivan DeJesus, Jr., who had a single, double and homer today in Arizona Fall League action, is profiled by Danny Wild of MLB.com.
  • Former Dodger Takashi Saito is officially a free agent. Per a clause in his contract, Atlanta could not offer Saito arbitration.

And now, this …

<a href="http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&#038;from=sharepermalink^facebook&#038;vid=97794e63-2bca-4774-9686-5fc412275d54&#038;from=en-us&#038;fg=dest" target="_new" title="Homeless Man Lipdubs Under Pressure">Video: Homeless Man Lipdubs Under Pressure</a>

Jun 03

Dodgers can’t quite bounce back, fall 4-3


Danny Moloshok/AP
Manny Ramirez’s failure to come up with this sinking drive by Atlanta pitcher Kris Medlen in the sixth inning allowed what proved to be the winning run to score.

Well, the Dodger offense indeed was slumping. Shut out for the first seven innings tonight by Atlanta’s Kris Medlen, the Dodgers had only two runs to show for their past 31 innings.

Still, they almost extended their winning streak. Almost.

Danny Moloshok/AP
Takashi Saito’s Dodger Stadium homecoming was nearly perfect, until his leg gave way.

Down 4-0 and held to three runners in the first seven innings by 24-year-old Atlanta righty Kris Medlen, the Dodgers picked and poked their way back into it in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three runs on singles by James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard, a throwing error by the Braves (which DeWitt barely converted into a run with a devilish hand-touch of home), and an RBI groundout by Rafael Furcal. But after Matt Kemp walked, mojo-free Andre Ethier struck out on a 2-2 fastball.

And then control of the game turned to our truly old friend, 40-year-old Takashi Saito, pitching against the Dodgers for the first time in his career. In the ninth, Saito retired Manny Ramirez and Loney, then got to 0-2 on Martin … when he had to leave the game with an apparent left hamstring injury. After a delay of several minutes, Jonny Venters came in and threw one pitch to strike out Martin and walk away with Saito’s save of a 4-3 Atlanta victory.

It was a disappointing night for Los Angeles, but not quite the bad taste that a shutout would have left. And the Lakers’ NBA Finals Game 1 victory will certainly provide some cover and consolation.

Hiroki Kuroda is also slumping now, by the way. His performance tonight wasn’t terrible – three earned runs in six innings – but the seven hits and four walks against two strikeouts hint at how sloppy it was. In his past two starts (the previous one an even more uncomfortable outing in Colorado), Kuroda has allowed 11 runs (eight earned) on 23 baserunners in 10 innings with three strikeouts. Yikes.

But this all, I believe, will pass. Perhaps around the time that the Dodger bullpen, which hasn’t allowed an earned run in its past 20 innings (according to the Dodger press notes), cracks.

* * *

  • Jeff Weaver entered the game in the top of the seventh, only to depart with trainer Stan Conte without throwing an official pitch. No details immediately available.
  • Casey Blake is day-to-day with back spasms, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Spurred to investigate the situation by questioners during his online chat today, Jackson found that minor-league pitcher Josh Lindblom is being converted back to relief. “When he gets back, we’re probably going to transition him back to the bullpen,” assistant general manager for player development DeJon Watson told Jackson. “I think he is better suited to the bullpen. It’s just his delivery and his stuff, and I think this will give him a chance to help our big league club at some point this year. We just want to get him back to where he was at the end of last year.”
  • Pitching rehab outings for Inland Empire tonight, Vicente Padilla threw 37 pitches, allowing one hit and striking out five in three innings, while George Sherrill struck out two in an eight-pitch inning of relief.
  • Vin Scully will make a rare trip East in two weeks, broadcasting the Dodgers’ game at Fenway Park for Prime Ticket on June 18, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Lucky us.