Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Month: March 2015 (Page 2 of 6)

Dodgers partner with Kitman Labs on injury prevention

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Stan Conte at Spring Training in February (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have partnered with Kitman Labs, a sports technology company with a focus on athlete management and personal injury cases in Florida. The Ireland-based Kitman will supply the Dodgers with a full suite of products.

Dodger vice president of medical services Stan Conte said the team has been working with Kitman for more than a year “to help modify Kitman Labs’ sports prevention program to make it applicable to professional baseball players.” Kitman is making its first foray into U.S. professional sports, after achieving success in soccer and rugby overseas.

“Kitman Labs has been successful in using player biometric measurements with other workload metrics to identify, in real time, soccer and rugby players who may be at risk for injuries,” Conte said in a press release. “They believe they will be able to do the same for professional baseball players. We’ve agreed to test Kitman Labs’ system at the minor-league level this year to determine its effectiveness as it applies to baseball players. Depending on the results, our objective is to implement the program at the Major League level in the future.”

Said Kitman co-founder and CEO Iarfhlaith Kelly: “It is hugely encouraging to see such a progressive organization like the Dodgers embrace our technology and research driven approach to help improve their data collection, data analysis, and their decision making in how they work with their athletes.”

Here’s more on Kitman, from the release:

At Kitman Labs, we have developed the world’s most advanced athlete management system. We utilize statistical analysis, scientific research, and industry experience to help highlight, manage, and reduce the risk of athletic injury. We take a unique, data driven approach to preventative medicine in sports and performance analytics.

Our team of experienced sports scientists understands the individual nature of each sporting discipline, and the uniqueness of each club, team and athlete. It is with this in mind that our system has been designed to mold to every need, every variant in each user. Developed to perform in the data driven world of elite sport, we harness available data to find the true source and cause of injury and to intervene before injuries ever occur.

And here’s more from Stephania Bell’s story at ESPN.com:

“We’re extremely intrigued by the concept and the potential of this system and now it’s off the drawing board and into application,” Conte said. “We’re interested to see: Will it alert us to problems before they occur?”

Stephen Smith, the co-founder of Kitman Labs, was an athletic trainer in Ireland, working with professional rugby teams. His 19-person company recently opened a California office.

Initially, his company developed hardware that was too bulky to transport. One modification Kitman developed while working with the Dodgers was the use of a portable high-definition camera to capture movement patterns. The camera connects with a computer and the results are generated in real time.

 

In case you missed it: No new Ryu news to rue

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By Jon Weisman

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s MRI on Monday revealed no change from a 2012 MRI, the Dodgers announced today. Ryu is scheduled to rest and rehab for two weeks before being re-evaluated to determine his next steps.

In other news …

  • I hadn’t heard of the Teres Major muscle until 12 months ago when it was discovered injured in the body of Clayton Kershaw, but it turns out everyone’s got one. Erik Bedard is the latest to suffer a strain of said muscle, and is reported to be out for four to six weeks, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • “I have the same injury as [Clayton] Kershaw, and I want the same rehab as Kershaw. And the same fastball.” — Bedard, via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
  • Brandon McCarthy threw five scoreless innings Monday in his minor-league game, covered by Gurnick.
  • Monday’s Cactus League game, featuring three hit batters and four ejections (all on Arizona’s side), was certainly a perplexing one, with everyone weighing the Dodger-Diamondback rivalry against the reminder that, you know this is Spring Training right? MLB.com’s Gilbert and Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. run it down for us.
  • Daniel Coulombe became the latest Dodger to be optioned to the minors. He faced 21 batters and retired 18 this spring with three strikeouts, allowing a single and walking two.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has a lengthy feature today talking to pitchers McCarthy, Juan Nicasio and David Huff, all of whom have been hit in the head by line drives.
  • Jimmy Rollins talked candidly with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal about subjects including his transition to Dodger blue.
  • The Fangraphs positional rankings continue today, with the Dodgers sixth at first base and also at second base.
  • Joc Pederson’s swing is analyzed by Chad Moriyama at Dodgers Digest, with the conclusion being that he is now keeping the barrel of the bat in the strike zone longer, which should lead to better contact.
  • I tweeted this out Monday, so it’s a day late on here, but I still like it …

In case you missed it: Dodgers showing some utility

#DodgersST (via @_kmacias)

A post shared by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Justin Turner, 1B
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Chris Heisey RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Kike Hernandez, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
(Chris Anderson, P)

By Jon Weisman

We’re down to the final fortnight before Opening Day. Starting to feel it?

Here’s a big set of links from this morning and the weekend …

  • Alex Guerrero is not only making a case for a reserve role in 2015 but a starting role in 2016, as Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles points out.
  • Guerrero’s roster spot could come at the immediate expense of Kike Hernandez (though, if the Dodgers keep an extra position player, perhaps not). Ken Gurnick writes at MLB.com about Hernandez, who has homered in three straight games.
  • Hernandez, who starts again today, has been a busy guy. He leads the Dodgers in Cactus League play in defensive innings with 74, and should tie or pass Joc Pederson — who has a scheduled off day today — for the lead in plate appearances. Pederson has 42 plate appearances, Hernandez 40.
  • Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson are each pitching in minor-league games for their next turns in the Dodger rotation — McCarthy today (in part because the Dodgers are facing opening-week opponent Arizona), Anderson on Tuesday (an off day for the big-league club).
  • Don Mattingly told reporters the Dodgers will have a bullpen game Wednesday, with Clayton Kershaw pitching again Thursday, working on five days’ rest after his last tooth-rattling start.
  • Chris Hatcher, who got rocked a bit Sunday, retiring one of five batters, gets a chance for redemption with his first back-to-back appearance of Spring Training today, pitching behind McCarthy in the minor-league game. Joel Peralta, who turns 39 today, is also doing making his first consecutive-days gambit.
  • The Dodgers have the ninth-best collection of MLB talent at catcher, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs, which kicked off its annual position rankings today.
  • Don Newcombe is at Camelback Ranch this week and will throw out the first pitch before Friday’s sold-out game against the Giants.
  • Aaron Miller, the Dodgers’ 2009 first-round draft pick who attempted to convert from pitching to the outfield, has retired at 27, reports Gurnick. We included Miller, who had an .826 OPS for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last year, in our May 2014 Dodger Insider magazine story about Dodger minor-leaguers making position switches.
  • In case you need a refresher, Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest charts where the major national prospect rankings placed the Dodgers’ up-and-comers.
  • A lengthy roster of the talent at Dodger minor-league camp was posted by Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A.
  • Bookmark this one: Official MLB historian John Thorn has a timeline of baseball integration dating back to 1820 at Our Game, starting with the slave Henry Rosecranse Columbus Jr. playing baseball in Kingston, New York.
  • A keen analysis of how well pitchers do (or don’t) recover from Tommy John surgery is provided by Jon Roegele at the Hardball Times. “The most recent data suggest that one out of two major league pitchers who has Tommy John surgery will throw fewer than 100 innings the rest of his big league career,” Roegele concludes.
  • Fangraphs has tweaked the way it calculates Wins Above Replacement, taking into account such factors as ability to avoid double plays and advancement on wild pitches and passed balls.
  • Let’s get promotional. Promotional …

 

 

Dodgers prepare to open 2015 without L.A.-bound Ryu

Ryu side

By Jon Weisman

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s inability to throw without discomfort today has sent him to Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and put Ryu out of the Dodgers’ opening-week plans.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.:

Earlier Sunday, Ryu was optimistic to continue his throwing program, telling manager Don Mattingly he felt 100 percent after the injection. But after the shortened workout, Mattingly saw a different Ryu in the trainers room.

“I saw the look on his face, and it wasn’t typical Hyun-jin,” Mattingly said.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

Mattingly said starting pitchers sent down earlier — specifically Zach Lee, Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger and Joe Wieland — are more likely options to replace Ryu as they have had their pitch counts stretched out in Minor League games. Those four also are already on the 40-man roster.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles:

“We’ve been looking for starting pitching depth all offseason and that’s kind of continued into camp,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “This is just a hard time to go out there and acquire starting pitching depth. We’re fielding calls from teams that are asking us about our starting pitching depth, so there aren’t a lot of starting pitching sellers right now.”

Bill Plunkett of the Register:

“We really like what we’ve seen from (Joe) Wieland this spring. He was really good in San Antonio the other day,” Zaidi said Sunday. “(Carlos) Frias and (Mike) Bolsinger are guys that all along we felt comfortable with.

“You also want to create a situation where the guys you have internally who have been told they have a chance to compete – you want to give them the opportunity first if it arises.”

Bill Shaikin of the Times:

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, said the team would consider acquiring “more depth (in) starting pitching, but that is no different than we have tried to get all off-season.”

Injuries afflict Dodgers (and everybody else)

Indians at Dodgers, 1:05 a.m.
Kike Hernandez, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, DH
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
Scott Schebler, RF
Chris O’Brien, C
(David Huff, P)

By Jon Weisman

At the risk of being labeled a Pollyanna about the Dodgers (not for the first time), let’s not overreact to the aches and ailments suffered by Dodger pitchers in the past 48 hours.

First and foremost, when a veteran non-roster pitcher leaves a Spring Training start more than two weeks before Opening Day for precautionary reasons, as Erik Bedard did Friday and Chad Gaudin did Saturday, that’s not exactly double-over news. (Today came news that Bedard will get an MRI on Monday, while Gaudin is fine.)

Bedard pitched 75 2/3 big-league innings last year, Gaudin zero. They might well contribute at some point in 2015 — neither would be with the Dodgers if there weren’t hope for that — but a mid-March setback for either of these two doesn’t spell “doom.” It doesn’t even spot you the “d.”

Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are bigger deals. Kershaw dodged a bullet (at least, all of him except two teeth did) when he was struck by an Andy Parrino hit Friday, hours after we learned that Ryu’s status for the start of the regular season is up in the air.

Though Kershaw is not expected to miss any time, and Ryu might still barely miss a beat, the twin pieces of news reminded that no pitcher, not even the rock that is Kershaw, is guaranteed to make it unscathed through a Major League season.

Guess what: That’s true for the other 29 teams as well.

Injuries are part of the game. It’s a cliche because it’s true. Injuries are part of the game. They’re gonna keep coming. And the Dodgers remain one of the best equipped teams to survive them.

* * *

A brief note: Matt Carson and Kyle Jensen had their tickets to minor-league camp punched today. Each hit two homers for the Dodgers in Cactus League play.

 

Pinball wizards win with a twist

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Dodgers at Rangers, 11:05 a.m.
Kike Hernandez, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Alex Guerrero, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Darwin Barney, 2B
Zack Greinke, P
Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, DH
Scott Van Slyke, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Chris Heisey, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
O’Koyea Dickson, 1B
Chad Gaudin, P

By Jon Weisman

So, turns out the Alamodome is no ordinary ballpark. Not with that roof and that sub-300-foot distance to right field.

Hit a fly ball, and you don’t know if it’s going to be a home run or a infield out, as Joc Pederson learned during the Dodgers’ 11-6 victory over Texas on Friday.

Pederson singled to start and homered to cap the Dodgers’ eight-run, three-homer first inning. Then, in the third inning, his third at-bat of the game was a high-flying single that hit the rafters, bounced near second base and turned into a 4-6 out.

Dodger starting pitcher Erik Bedard was also the victim of a roof-induced single in the first inning, what turned out to be his only inning of the game. Joe Wieland turned in the most effective pitching performance, going three innings with four strikeouts against four baserunners, allowing one run.

Yasiel Puig, Matt Carson, Kike Hernandez and Justin Turner joined Pederson in homering by the fifth inning for the Dodgers, who emerged triumphant before 20,591 fans at the Alamodome.

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Tie goes to the rubble

Dodgers at Rangers, 5:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Darwin Barney, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, DH
Justin Turner, 3B
Matt Carson, LF
Kike Hernandez, 2B
Chris O’Brien, C
(Erik Bedard, P)

By Jon Weisman

Could it be, yet again?

The Dodgers seemed primed today against Oakland for their seventh tie in their past 14 games, taking a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth inning and then walking the leadoff hitter.

But it went a bit too far, and despite a double play, two runs crossed the plate for the victorious A’s.

For eight innings, the Dodgers (8-4-6) had superb pitching, as Clayton Kershaw was followed to the mound by J.P. Howell (one inning, one hit), Adam Liberatore (one inning, two strikeouts) and David Aardsma (one inning, three strikeouts)

Barry Zito, whose last regular-season MLB start was a winning five-inning performance for San Francisco 18 months ago, pitched three perfect innings, striking out five, and ended up with today’s win.

Kershaw gets knocked down, gets back up again

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By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw was clocked above the left jaw in the third inning today by a broken-bat single from Oakland’s Andy Parrino. Kershaw dropped to the ground for 40 seconds, later gesturing inside his mouth as he was examined by Stan Conte, but stayed in the game — no doubt wanting to make sure he got his work in.

Kershaw allowed a line-drive out and then an RBI bloop single to the next two batters, then retired the final seven hitters he faced to complete a five-inning, 68-pitch outing. Then, he went down to the bullpen to throw a few more pitches before calling it a day.

The Dodger ace also singled to left field in his first at-bat of Cactus League play this year. And earlier in the game, he gave us Classic Clayton.

https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/579030520287244288/photo/1

Update: Kershaw chipped a tooth  …

“It felt like getting hit by a pitch,” Kershaw said, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “Nothing serious. I don’t think I panicked too much. It was sore. I think I lost some tooth. I spit it out, and we got it. I assume tomorrow, I’ll be sore. I feel fine now. … If it was serious, I wouldn’t have stayed in. Not worth it in Spring Training. At the same time, there’s only a couple more (games) left, and I need to build up pitch count. That’s kind of an important thing, to stay out there.”

In case you missed it: Get to know them

Reserves

Dodgers at A’s, 1:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Chris Heisey, CF
Scott Schebler, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

One day after the appearance of the spring Solis-tice, the image above shows the Dodger bench for today’s split-squad game against Oakland — the first of four Dodger games beginning between 1:05 p.m. today and 1:10 p.m. Saturday.

Here’s what’s percolating …

  • Bill Shaikin of the Times had a nice scoop Thursday, reporting that on the final day of the 2015 regular season, October 4, every MLB game will start at 12 Pacific. That will heighten the drama and also reduce the competitive advantage for those teams that had later starts.
  • David Huff’s Saturday start has been moved to Sunday. Huff and his wife, Lisa, had a baby boy Thursday. Ethan Thomas Allen Huff now shares the same birthday as Clayton Kershaw. Congrats to the Huffs! (By the way, happy birthday to my littlest guy, who turns 7 today!)
  • Brandon League felt “free and easy” in his second consecutive day of throwing as he works his way back from right shoulder irritation, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Yasmani Grandal is not only working with Dodger pitchers to get to know them better, but also A.J. Ellis, writes Chad Thornburg of MLB.com. “I’ll talk to (Ellis) about guys and different things he likes to do and kind of just try to get a feel of how Dodger baseball is played.”
  • How did the Alamodome become baseball-ready? Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. uses Twitter to illustrate the process.
  • From Thursday …

Currently. #DodgersST

A post shared by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

Hyun-Jin Ryu could open season on disabled list

Ryu

By Jon Weisman

Considering that Kenley Jansen’s foot surgery took place just before Spring Training began, it had been a relatively quiet time for injuries at Camelback Ranch in the month since pitchers and catchers reported.

Some players on the long road back from injuries, while others including J.P. Howell and Brandon League have been briefly slowed, but nothing of note had affected a starter.

That just changed, with the news, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com notes, that Hyun-Jin Ryu has received an injection for left shoulder tightness, will be shut down for three days and could start the 2015 regular season on the disabled list.

On September 12, a left shoulder issue that cropped up during a nine-batter, one-inning start at San Francisco sidelined Ryu for 24 days, until he made his return in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Speaking to reporters in Arizona today, Don Mattingly said Ryu’s current malady was very similar.

“It’d be a pretty safe assumption that this is going to set him back a little bit, and we’re definitely going to be cautious,” Mattingly said.

“I am frustrated,” Ryu said through an interpreter to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News. “For this year, I put in a lot of preparation. I’m just going to have to start all over. I’m a little frustrated I got stopped right now.”

It’s still 17 days until Opening Day, so an official decision could be far away and this could all quickly become a forgotten footnote to the preseason. But the Dodgers don’t need a fifth starter until April 14, which is 25 days from now — and in fact, that’s the only day the Dodgers need a fifth starter until April 25. So don’t be surprised if Los Angeles plays it cautiously with Ryu and begins the season with four starting pitchers and an extra reliever amid what has been a spirited competition for spots in the bullpen. (That, of course, assumes the Dodgers’ other four starting pitchers stay healthy.)

Mike Bolsinger, Erik Bedard, Carlos Frias and Joe Wieland are among the starting pitchers in the system that could take Ryu’s place, as well as swingmen including Chad Gaudin and David Huff.

Dodgers find Solis in sixth tie

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By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers about to play four games in the next two days in two different states, the team emptied its bench and then some today, with a number of minor-leaguers receiving their first (or nearly first) action ever playing for the big-league Dodgers.

Lars Anderson, Ali Solis and Dillon Moyer were among the position players coming off the bench, while Jharel Cotton and Michael Johnson pitched the final two innings. Solis had a seventh-inning sacrifice fly for the Dodgers’ final run of the day and a 7-5 lead.

The 23-year-old Cotton, who had 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.16 WHIP for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last year, pitched a shutout eighth but got in trouble in the ninth, and Johnson couldn’t bail him out.

The result: Two ninth-inning runs by the Angels, a 7-7 final score, and the Dodgers’ improbable, record-setting sixth tie of Spring Training. Los Angeles is 8-3-6.

It was an odd game that saw starting pitcher Brett Anderson allow seven hits to the 12 batters he faced over 1 2/3 innings, only for the Dodgers to quickly rally for five runs in the bottom of the second. Alex Guerrero continued his efforts to make his contract status a moot point, starting a double play from shortstop in the first inning and hitting a three-run homer in the second.
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Andre Ethier, meanwhile, had a single and a double. Joc Pederson and Matt Carson had the Dodgers’ other extra-base hits.

In case you missed it: Happy birthday, Clayton

Angels at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, DH
Chris Heisey, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Justin Turner, 2B
Andre Ethier, LF
Alex Guerrero, SS
Kike Hernandez, 3B
(Brett Anderson, P)

By Jon Weisman

Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney, who was a Dodger for a couple of hours midway through his journey from the Marlins to Orange County, today will face his former team, so to speak.

Meanwhile …

  • David Huff is still planning to start for the Dodgers’ split-squad team Saturday against Cleveland, even though his wife went into labor today.
  • Albert Pujols tagging up and going from first to second on a medium fly ball has had a long-term effect on Yasiel Puig, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • Puig had a .912 OPS on the first pitch of an at-bat last year, notes Bill Chuck of Gammons Daily.
  • Submariner reliever Ben Rowen is the latest Dodger to be reassigned to minor-league camp.
  • Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk is a long-time Braves fan, but he explains in this fun piece why his sons have become Dodger fans.
  • The artwork on the 2015 Dodger media guide cover is by Stephen Holland, the same artist who produced our 2015 Yearbook cover painting of Fernando Valenzuela. The media guide is not for sale.

Media guide cover

 

The good, the bad and the unusual in a 7-5 loss

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By Jon Weisman

There was plenty of action in today’s 7-5 Dodger loss to the Cubs, but the marquee attraction in the “Have You Seen This Before?” Department was … no, not Sergio Santos’ four-strikeout inning, but the fact that he had a 1-3 strikeout on a pitch that caromed back to him before he threw the batter/runner out at first.

Read More

Video: Kershaw, Seager win ping-pong title

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There’s no such thing as an exhibition when Clayton Kershaw and the words “ping” or “pong” are involved …

– Jon Weisman

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 7.42.08 PM

In case you missed it: Blowin’ in the wind

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Cubs at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, DH
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
(Brandon McCarthy, P)

By Jon Weisman

How many steps must a man run down
Before he realizes he’s not going to catch that home run by Howie Kendrick?

The answer, my friend, is 11. That’s about how many footprints Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin made before he watched forlornly as Kendrick’s homer sailed about a first down or two beyond the outfield fence.

Here is some postgame reaction, from Pedro Moura of the Register:

It was 11 a.m. Tuesday, two hours before the Dodgers were to play the Texas Rangers here, 20 minutes away from their spring-training home, and Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins had made plans to carpool.

Kendrick was dressed and ready to go; Rollins was still in his workout gear, needing to shower. They chided each other in the clubhouse, Rollins telling Kendrick to slow down, Kendrick telling Rollins to speed up. That’s the relationship the two men have developed in three weeks as teammates after almost a decade of mutual, cross-league admiration.

So, after Kendrick smashed perhaps the longest homer of his pro career Tuesday, at least 440 feet to dead center off Rangers left-hander Joe Beimel, no one in the Dodgers clubhouse was better suited than Rollins to provide perspective.

“Actually, I kind of thought I missed it a little bit,” Kendrick tried to say. “I guess the wind was blowing today.”

Rollins interjected: “In other words, I’ve never hit one that well.” …


Click here to read the entire article.
And now, here are some more morning links …

  • Baseball Prospectus gives the Dodgers an 89.7 percent chance of making the playoffs and 17.6 percent for winning the World Series, significantly higher than the other 29 teams. Will Leitch writes about the playoff odds today at Sports on Earth.
  • MLB.com offers a sortable Milestone Tracker (link via Openers), putting the spotlight on future achievements great and small. Here are the lists for Dodger hitters and for Dodger pitchers. Now you know when Jimmy Rollins will enter MLB’s all-time top 50 in steals.
  • J.P. Howell warmed up too long during the Dodgers’ seven-run fifth inning, the pitcher and Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. On the bright side, Howell a) learned his lesson and b) doesn’t figure to make many appearances after the Dodgers score seven runs in an inning.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu’s fluctuating velocity (well, the fluctuating velocity of Ryu’s pitches, not Ryu himself) is the subject of this piece by Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A.
  • Andrew Friedman on meeting Sandy Koufax, via J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News:

    “It’s very rare in life where you have incredibly high expectations for someone and they actually exceed them,” Friedman said. “It’s really all encompassing — the type of person he is, the way he articulates his points, the knowledge he has, the way he’s able to question things in a very thoughtful way. I had so many different conversations over the span of that week that were incredibly thought-provoking and got me thinking.”

  • Today is the 60th anniversary of Koufax’s first game at Spring Training in Vero Beach, we were told by Historic Dodgertown in a press release. At age 19, he faced seven batters, walking two and striking out five. In the same game, 18-year-old Don Drysdale pitched four innings and struck out eight.
  • Brandon Beachy threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since his second Tommy John operation, reports Gurnick, who adds that Beachy was both excited but keeping his enthusiasm in check.
  • Director of player development Gabe Kapler is a big booster of social media for athletes. At his blog Kaplifestyle, he explains why.
  • No more hanging chads at the ballpark: All-Star Game balloting is going all digital, notes Mike Oz at Big League Stew. End of an era …
  • Finally, we’re looking ahead to today’s biggest contest …

Update:

More from Hoornstra here.

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