Chone Figgins, 3B
Andre Ethier, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Nick Buss, RF
Miguel Olivo, DH
Dee Gordon, 2B
(Clayton Kershaw, P)
By Jon Weisman
Andre Ethier takes a turn at center field, while the wheel of Chone Figgins lands on third base. At this point, I won’t be satisfied unless Figgins plays at least eight positions this spring.
Scheduled to follow Clayton Kershaw on the mound today are Brandon League, Seth Rosin (he of the five strikeouts in two innings Wednesday), Pedro Baez, Carlos Frias and Jarret Martin.
By the way, with Zack Greinke missing his scheduled start Tuesday, that game against the Mariners will become a full bullpen day for the Dodgers, with Brian Wilson scheduled to be the first pitcher. Ken Gurnick has more on Greinke and other less-than-100-percent Dodgers at MLB.com.
One more link for the morning: Matt Kemp just needs those wheels unleashed, because his swing is back, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
Mark McGwire joined the Dodgers as hitting coach more than a year after Matt Kemp nearly won the Most Valuable Player Award in 2011, and the swing McGwire saw last year was very different from the powerful and unusually high finish McGwire recalled from the past.
McGwire explains it this way: A right-handed hitter drives with his left arm — his lead arm – and steers with his right. When Kemp was at his best, he had been able to lift and drive the ball to right-center field. But last year, Kemp still seemed to be recovering from the shoulder surgery he had in the fall of 2012, and McGwire never really saw that classic Kemp finish. Rather, his front arm was noticeably lower in his follow-through, and, instead of lifting the ball, he tended to hit looping liners without much carry, a lingering sign that his repaired shoulder was not yet operating at 100 percent.
On Friday morning, before the Dodgers’ exhibition against the White Sox, McGwire saw that old swing again. …
Figgins hit .308 last spring and was still cut by the Marlins in March and turned down offers to go to AAA with other clubs. He can play great defense all over the field but we will need some offense out of a utility guy as well. Van Slyke makes the team for sure, so does Dee Gordon unless he is traded. If Guerrero is ready to at least platoon, I don’t see room for Figgins unless there are injuries and he starts to light it up with the bat this spring which he hasn’t done so far.
If he is willing to go to AAA, let’s keep him around and he can be quality insurance. But I cannot see him on the 40 man with the make-up of this club right now. I think Justin Turner has a more realistic chance than Chone does to break camp as one of the 25 to play in Sydney. Younger, more bat speed, bigger upside.