Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: March 2016 (Page 3 of 5)

Spring Training, emphasis on training

Royals at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Joc Pederson, DH
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Austin Barnes, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Trayce Thompson, CF
Corey Brown, LF
(Alex Wood, P)

By Jon Weisman

Why is it hard to get a read on big-league teams during Spring Training?

Here are the Dodger leaders in Cactus League defensive innings played so far:

70 Trayce Thompson
66 Micah Johnson
60 Rico Noel
60 Rob Segedin
57 Charlie Culberson
55 Corey Brown
53 Cody Bellinger
50 Elian Herrera
49 Brandon Hicks
48 Scott Van Slyke

Not saying the games haven’t been worthwhile¬†— there are real contributors there — but¬†just that they serve a purpose more broad than¬†straight wins and losses.¬†I like to call that purpose, “baseball.”

Hispanic Heritage Night on September 24 features Valenzuela T-shirt

hispanic-heritage-wbc-v1-r0

With Fernando Valenzuela throwing out the first pitch at today’s World Baseball Classic qualifier game in Mexicali, here’s another Valenzuela-related item to share.

September 24 at Dodger Stadium will be Hispanic Heritage Night, when the Dodgers celebrate the legacy of Latino Dodgers past and present as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Visit dodgers.com/latino to get a package* that includes your ticket to the game and an exclusive Los Dodgers/Valenzuela Hispanic Heritage Night t-shirt. Arrive early to enjoy La Gran Fiesta, the culmination of the season-long series of family-friendly events celebrating Latino culture in Los Angeles.

To purchase group tickets of 20 or more, please contact group sales at (866) DODGERS or grouptix@ladodgers.com.

*This special event package must be purchased from this link to obtain item. Third-party purchases will not be eligible for the t-shirt. This is not a stadium-wide giveaway.

In case you missed it: Ethier leadoff experiment, step one

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

In discussing potential Dodger leadoff hitters last week, I hesitated to include Andre Ethier because he had never done so in a regular-season game ‚Äď but I¬†decided to do so anyway, because against right-handers, it makes sense.

Sure enough, Ethier grabbed a leadoff spot in today’s 7-3 Dodger victory over Colorado,¬†walking and singling¬†in his first two at-bats.

Dave Roberts told reporters today that Ethier could bat leadoff when the matchup is favorable.

What else can I tell you?

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is not going to pitch in Cactus League play and is doubtful to return to Major League action¬†before June, Dave Roberts said today.
  • Zach Lee retired the first eight batters he faced in a 3 1/3-inning performance, allowing a run on four baserunners with one strikeout.
  • Julio Urias gave up a run in his first inning of relief, but retired the¬†final four batters in his two-inning outing.
  • In his second Cactus League game, Justin Turner went 1 for 3 with an error.
  • Elian Herrera and Trayce Thompson both scored on the same wild pitch in the eighth inning.
  • Some interesting data from Tony Blengino at Fangraphs supports a big 2016 season for Yasmani Grandal. In his first Cactus League game since March 9, Grandal¬†singled and walked.
  • Outfield prospect Alex Verdugo did a Q&A with Jim Callis of MLB.com.
  • Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest rated Dodger minor leaguers¬†according to best tools.
  • Frank Sinatra Jr., who sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium several times,¬†most recently in September as part of the centennial celebration of his father, has passed away at age 72. Tommy Lasorda¬†expressed his sadness this evening. “Like his father, Frank Jr. brought us much joy with his unbelievable musical talent,” Lasorda said. “Last season,¬†Frank Jr. sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium on my birthday. What a voice! Frank Jr. was a great and lovely family man. He will be missed dearly.”
  • For a brief moment this morning, it looked like Dodger¬†Stadium was going the Calvinball route …

Yasiel Puig not to be suspended

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig has been cleared by Major League Baseball regarding an alleged incident last November, as MLB stated today.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball has concluded its investigation into an alleged incident involving Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and his sister in a Miami-area nightclub on November 26, 2015. The investigation included interviews of witnesses, including Puig and his sister, as well as a review of video footage from inside the nightclub at the time of the alleged incident.

The Office of the Commissioner’s investigation did not uncover any witness who supported the assault allegation; both Puig and his sister denied that an assault occurred; and the available video evidence did not support the allegation. Thus, barring the receipt of any new information or evidence, no discipline will be imposed on Puig in connection with the alleged incident.

‚ÄúThe Dodgers are pleased with MLB‚Äôs findings following their thorough investigation,” the Dodgers said later in the afternoon in¬†a statement. “Yasiel can now put this matter behind him and focus solely on the season ahead.‚ÄĚ

Ken Gurnick has more at MLB.com on Puig, who homered today in the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over Colorado.

There was a suspension in the Dodger family today, though it involved a player who never suited up for the organization. Minor-league right-hander¬†Adrian Salcedo, who was acquired in November, received a 144-game suspension without pay, according to the commisioner’s office, “following a positive test for a metabolite of Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Program.” Salcedo was already serving a¬†previous suspension incurred while with the Twins. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. adds some backstory.

How many innings might make Maeda mightier

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Rockies at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Andre Ethier, LF
Howie Kendrick, DH
Justin Turner, 3B
Chase Utley, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Elian Herrera, SS
(Zach Lee, P)

By Jon Weisman

We¬†recapped¬†Kenta Maeda’s latest outing Tuesday, but I saw some more comments this morning worth passing along.

The bulk of them centered on how much it will help Maeda simply to¬†put more mileage on his American odometer. For example, here’s what Maeda said to the Japan Times

… ‚ÄúI‚Äôm still throwing some fat pitches, but I was able to get some strikeouts, so it was a learning experience,‚ÄĚ he said. “Next time I want to do a good job while increasing my innings and pitch count and not walking batters.

‚ÄúThere were times when I threw pitches on the corner that I wanted strikes on but were called balls. Had I got them, I would have had more strikeouts. I think I‚Äôm going to have to establish my reputation among the umpires as a pitcher with good control.‚ÄĚ …

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Kendrick returns as DH, Barnes starts at second base

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

Dodgers at White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Howie Kendrick, DH
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Andre Ethier, LF
Chase Utley, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Austin Barnes, 2B
(Kenta Maeda, P)

By Jon Weisman

Howie Kendrick is starting today for the Dodgers, but their second baseman is Austin Barnes.

Kendrick, who has been nursing groin tenderness, is making his third Cactus League appearance and first since March 5. He will be the designated hitter, while the Dodgers further test out No. 3 catcher Barnes as a multi-position option.

It’s no secret that Barnes¬†has potential to help the Dodgers at second and third base as well as catcher. Last year, he became the 11th player¬†to play all three positions in his Dodger career.

Only Derrel Thomas, who caught five games as a Dodger, and Lew Ritter have played at least five games at all three positions, so Barnes could break new ground in 2016 if he gets the opportunity.

By the way, one of the 11 Dodgers to have played second base, third base and catcher is 100-year-old Mike Sandlock, who is currently the oldest living former MLB player.

Video: Dodgers featured on MLB Network

On¬†Monday, MLB Network featured the Dodgers on its “30 Clubs¬†in 30 Days” series. Below¬†are several clips from the day …

‚ÄĒ Jon Weisman

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In case you missed it: Tale of three starting pitchers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mike Bolsinger has allowed two runs in nine Spring Training innings. (Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Mike Bolsinger shone in the spotlight for the Dodgers, while Scott Kazmir and Hyun-Jin Ryu had interesting days behind the scenes.

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Justin Turner has slick return to game action

Los Angeles Dodgers head shot dayBy Jon Weisman

Justin Turner’s¬†2016 Cactus League debut could hardly have gone better.

In the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory over Milwaukee today, Turner ‚ÄĒ playing¬†his first Spring Training game following offseason surgery on his left knee ‚ÄĒ¬†doubled in a run and scored in the first inning¬†and¬†made a clean defensive play at third base in the second inning. In the third, Turner walked, then scored¬†all the way from first base on an Adrian Gonzalez double, sliding smoothly at home plate.

“I’m still standing,” said Turner, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “Everything is a test to see how I feel on both sides of the ball. I had a little extra adrenaline with the fans in the stands. I was anxious to get back out there in a real game. Playing on the back fields is good to get the work in, but it’s not the same adrenaline and intensity with the fans in the stands. I felt great. Ran, slid into home, dove for a ball. Everything felt fine.”

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has more. Assuming Turner has no ill after-affects Tuesday, he should return to game action Wednesday.

Dodgers option Cotton, reassign seven to minor-league camp

Eric Gagne and Rick Honeycutt talk with Jharel Cotton on February 28.

Eric Gagne and Rick Honeycutt talk with Jharel Cotton on February 28.

This afternoon, the Dodgers made their first bulk cuts of Spring Training, optioning right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton to minor league camp and reassigning non-roster pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Chase De Jong, Caleb Dirks, Jacob Rhame, Chris Anderson, outfielder Alex Hassan and catcher Kyle Farmer.

Cotton, Rhame, Anderson and Farmer are homegrown prospects, while De Jong, Dirks and Hassan were acquired within the past year. At 27, Hassan is the oldest, followed by the 25-year-old Bonilla (who has been recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Farmer.

‚ÄĒ Jon Weisman

Justin Turner makes Cactus League debut today

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

Brewers at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Micah Johnson, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Austin Barnes, C
Alex Guerrero, DH
Trayce Thompson, CF
Charlie Culberson, SS
Rico Noel, LF
(Mike Bolsinger, P)

By Jon Weisman

The Iced Man cometh.

In the Dodgers’ 13th Cactus League game of 2016, Justin Turner will make his first appearance.

Turner, who has been recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, is scheduled to play approximately five innings at third base.

The 31-year-old Turner made it back into the lineup exactly three weeks before Opening Day at San Diego.

Alex Guerrero, who pinch-hit Sunday in his first game in eight days, gets his first start in that span at designated hitter.

Today’s game is preceded by a “B” game, slated to go no more than¬†five innings,¬†in which Scott Kazmir of the Dodgers is¬†pitchinh against Chris Sale of the¬†White Sox. Yasmani Grandal, who has been sidelined with a forearm contusion, is¬†catching Kazmir.

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In case you missed it: Infield candidates step up

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Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Andre Ethier, LF
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Charlie Culberson 3B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Charlie Culberson,¬†Elian Herrera and Brandon Hicks, whose roles as reserves could increase over the next two weeks of Spring Training ‚Äď if not Opening Day ‚Ästwhile Corey Seager recovers from his strained left knee, each¬†enjoyed spotlight moments Saturday¬†for the twice-victorious Dodgers.

In a pair of topsy-turvy games Saturday, the Dodgers scored the winning runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Cubs and in the top of the 10th against the Mariners.

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Seager to miss up to two weeks with sprained knee

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Cubs at Dodgers, 6:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Chase Utley, 3B
Austin Barnes, C
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Charlie Culberson, SS
Micah Johnson, 2B
(Brandon Beachy, P)
Manager: Dave Roberts
Dodgers at Mariners, 6:40 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Trayce Thompson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
A.J. Ellis, C
Shawn Zarraga, DH
Rob Segedin, 3B
Alex Hassan, RF
Elian Herrera, 2B
(Carlos Frias, P)
Manager: Bob Geren

By Jon Weisman

Injury concerns dotted the first night of split-squad games for the Dodgers, with the most serious news appearing to be that Corey Seager will miss at least one week because of a sprained left knee.

Seager had an MRI today, one day after he was hurt rounding first base following a base hit against the Angels, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported. Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters late this afternoon that Seager would be out for one to two weeks.

Seager is 23 days away from beginning his first regular season¬†as a Major League starter. Kik√© Hernandez is the Dodgers’ primary backup shortstop, with non-roster infielders Charlie Culberson,¬†Elian Herrera among the bench possibilities.

That left-handed pitcher Alex Wood was scratched from a scheduled start tonight because of forearm tightness seems to be of less concern. Reporters were told that Wood would have pitched had this been a regular-season game. Carlos Frias is starting in his place.

Also pulled from scheduled action tonight was Alex Guerrero, who was supposed to return from a week’s absence at designated hitter against the Mariners, only to be replaced by Shawn Zarraga. Guerrero (left knee soreness) hasn’t played since March 4.

Adrian Gonzalez heads to Mexico next week for WBC qualifier, Gagne to manage France

Adrian Gonzalez celebrates after Mexico won 5-2 against the United States during the World Baseball Classic first round at Chase Field on March 8, 2013. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Adrian Gonzalez celebrates Mexico’s 5-2 victory over the United States in a first-round game of¬†the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field on March 8, 2013. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

As we noted Thursday, Adrian Gonzalez¬†will¬†begin play for Team Mexico ‚ÄĒ managed by his brother and former Padres teammate Edgar — on Thursday in the World Baseball Classic qualifier in Mexicali.

Team Mexico will open play against the Czech Republic. Earlier that day, Germany will face Nicaragua, with each team featuring a Dodger minor leaguer on its roster: Sven Schuller and Leonardo Crawford.

Eric Gagne is managing the French team, which is playing in a different WBC qualifying bracket Thursday in Panama City.

The fourth qualifier for the 2017 World Baseball Classic will be held in Brooklyn in September, with Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan. Last month in Sydney, Australia won the first qualifier, topping New Zealand, the Philippines and South Africa.

Winners of the three qualifiers will join the U.S. and 12 other teams in the next WBC, one year from now.

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In case you missed it: Tale of two Uriases

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Julio Urias

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Spirits soared¬†with Julio Urias’ first inning on a¬†Cactus League mound this year, before¬†his second inning reminded us of his youth.

Taking the mound in the seventh inning today against the Angels, Urias struck out the side — before allowing a single, double, triple and walk to the four batters he faced in the eighth inning of what became an 8-4 Dodger loss, recapped by MLB.com.

Urias told AM 570 Dodger Talk’s David Vassegh that he struggled with his fastball command in his second inning of work. Hopefully, it wasn’t from his coffee run earlier today.

The Dodgers lost despite holding the Angels hitless from the second through seventh innings. Zach Lee gave up three hits in the first inning, including a three-run homer, but then faced the minimum over the next two innings. Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Pedro Baez and Louis Coleman each pitched an inning of hitless ball. They were helped by Charlie Culberson, who made two outstanding plays at shortstop today.

What else have we got?

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