Joe Torre just told reporters that contrary to earlier reports, Russell Martin will be out four to six weeks. That makes A.J. Ellis the starting catcher – for now.
If we find out that Martin would have been resting Friday if he had been more open about his health …
Soreness in his lower right abdomen drove Dodger catcher Russell Martin to an MRI exam today. As Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (emphasis mine):
… Martin was scheduled to be examined by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, but no results were expected until late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Martin, a former All-Star, had felt pain in his stomach for a few days but didn’t tell club officials until Saturday because he didn’t think it was anything to worry about.
“Evidently, it couldn’t have been too bad the first few days,” Torre said. “He just felt it was part of the normal spring training discomfort.” …
Jackson, by the way, also has a story on Make-a-Wish Dodger Chris Ramirez.
In a move one can’t help but interpret, at least in part, as a vote of no confidence in the health of Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz, the Dodgers have signed local hero Garret Anderson to a minor-league deal, the team announced tonight.
Anderson, 38 this June, had a .705 OPS last season (86 OPS+) and was almost equally bad against right-handed pitchers as he was against lefties. But the team might just be determined to have a veteran at least start the season as the team’s lead lefty pinch-hitter, rather than Xavier Paul, whose bat could certainly match what Anderson did last season.
Perhaps the thinking is also that Anderson might do better with more rest than he has ever had in his career – he has been a regular since 1995.
Previously on Dodger Thoughts: Superman, Then and Now
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- Arizona signed 22-year-old right fielder Justin Upton to a six-year, $51.25 million contract. Upton is nearly three years younger than Matt Kemp and has one fewer year of service time, and had a .301 EQA (or, as Baseball Prospectus now wants us to call it, True Average) compared to Kemp’s .304.
- The importance of Clayton Kershaw’s slider is the subject of a Jay Jaffe post at ESPN.com’s new pay-blog, TMI. “Kershaw’s numbers, since he introduced the pitch in early-June, are eye-popping,” Jaffe writes. “They stand with the elite hurlers in the majors, with the caveat that his age limited his workload.”
- Scheduled Dodger pitchers for Spring Training Opening Day on Friday: Vicente Padilla, Ramon Ortiz, Charlie Haeger, Luis Ayala, Scott Dohmann and Jon Link.
- An all-encompassing MLB batted-ball location chart is now available at Katron.org (link via True Blue L.A. and Dodger Divorce).
- Following their disappointing 2009 seasons, Dodger catcher Russell Martin put on chunks of weight, while Cubs catcher Geovany Soto took them off. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports explores their criss-cross paths.
- Lefty reliever Brent Leach is trying to get through a sore groin muscle, Gurnick reports. Leach has been playing catch on flat ground but has stayed off the mound in recent days.
- Minor leaguers had their per diem raised to $25 from $20, and Rob Neyer of ESPN.com is unimpressed by the largesse – and even less impressed with the efforts organizations make to encourage healthy eating among their prospects.
- Forty years ago today, Ross Newhan of the Times began his feature (passed along by Keith Thursby at the Daily Mirror) on Bobby Valentine with this opening: “He might have become the second O.J. Simpson.”
- The Dodgers’ annual open tryout for all unaffiliated men and women 18 and over takes place Thursday at Camelback Ranch. Hope your visa’s in order!
- Is the future of baseball bats knobless? Read and decide for yourself.
- Manny Mota (via Gurnick) is trying to draw attention to the Haiti relief efforts of former major-leaguer Neifi Perez and his merengue-performing brother Rubby.
No. 5 starter candidate Scott Elbert had a recent bout of shoulder tendinitis, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, but after being shut down for 10 days had a pain-free bullpen session Thursday. He is scheduled to throw again Monday.
In a separate blog post, Gurnick noted that reliever Travis Schlichting had a pretty significant health scare over the winter, dealing with Gilbert’s syndrome, “which results in increased bilirubin levels and, in Schlichting’s case, is believed to have caused fatigue and nausea that led to (a 30-pound) weight loss.”
Hiroki Kuroda and Hong-Chih Kuo, among others, are having no issues so far.
- Vicente Padilla was throwing (stories about) bullets. Tony Jackson of ESPN.com/LA has details. If Padilla were a duck, Casey Blake might still have a beard.
- The way Joe Torre talked about Jeff Weaver, according to Gurnick, a swingman role in the bullpen is his to lose.
- For those interested in injured pitchers from 2009 that the Dodgers might have signed but ended up with Oakland instead, this Associated Press update tells us that Justin Duchsherer is having back troubles, but Ben Sheets is pounding the strike zone.