For more photos from Thursday, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Opening Day is one month away. Opening Day is one month away. And this kid looks ready.
Here are the latest links:
- Clayton Kershaw looked outstanding Thursday, but he said he had to make an adjustment to fix his slider before his second inning, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
- As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles points out, Spring Training for Kershaw is as much about building endurance as anything else.
- Saxon also had a good Q&A with Ellis, touching quickly on several different subjects.
- Kershaw and Ellis described their adjustment to the new 145-second time limit between innings, in this Dylan Hernandez story for the Times. More from both in this dodgers.com video here.
- It’s actually fun to watch big-leaguers adjust to MLB’s caveat-filled directive to keep one foot in the batter’s box, as Mike Oz points out at Big League Stew.
- Farhan Zaidi talked platooning in this story by Bill Plunkett of the Register. An excerpt:
(Joc) Pederson has a mercurial relationship with left-handed pitching. He hit lefties well in the Class-A California League (a .330 average), struggled against them in Double-A two years ago (.200) then handled them well in Triple-A last year (.299 with a 1.020 OPS).
“It’s interesting. I think with lefties you see that more,” Zaidi said of the fluctuations. “One, you’re dealing with left-on-left sample sizes that are pretty small. So there’s just some noise there anyway. And then I just think with lefties it kind of comes and goes a little bit.
“As a general rule, righties will have more consistent splits from year to year. Lefties will have a good year against left-handed pitching and then they’ll have a down year. Really getting a gauge for how guys are performing in that role as early as possible definitely helps. I’ll say this – the sort of exciting thing about him (Pederson) is that he has everyday potential because he has had seasons of success against lefties. There are guys who always struggle in that role.”
- It might take all of Spring Training for Don Mattingly to decide how he sets up his bullpen in the absence of Kenley Jansen, Mattingly told Gurnick.
- Here’s an exhaustive evaluation of top Dodger prospects by Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs.
- MLB official historian John Thorn has been running a series of posts at Our Game on baseball’s greatest photographs. Here is Part 5, and here is a cool Neil Leifer shot of Willie Davis in Part 2.
- NYU, the school that produced Ralph Branca (and my wife), has brought back varsity baseball after a 41-year absence, writes Tom Pedulla for the New York Times. A group photo from the early 1940s that includes Branca runs with the story.