Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 63)

Joc Pederson Baseball ProCamp set for August 11

Cincinnati Reds vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Joc Pederson is hosting a one-day baseball camp August 11 for boys and girls in grades 1-8 at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles. The camp takes place on an off day between the Dodgers’ home series against the Phillies and Pirates.

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Marathon outing shows J.P. Howell has bounced back

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

J.P. Howell allowed four runs in this April 7 game at San Francisco — and has allowed four runs since. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Before Sunday, J.P. Howell hadn’t pitched two complete innings in a game since 2013, and hadn’t pitched three innings since 2008.

But in the Dodgers’ 17-inning victory over San Diego, Howell whipped through nine outs, allowing only one hit. Considering the outing, his 35 pitches were economical, but they were still an unusually high total for the 33-year-old. Not that he was complaining.

“I haven’t pitched too much this year, so it was kind of nice to be out there for that long period of time,” said Howell.

In fact, Howell said he was ready to come back and pitch Monday if needed. Tuesday was a different story, however.

“You go three innings, you can pitch the next day,” he said. “It’s day two — it’s like once you stop and recovery starts to happen, it’s over.

“So for me, it was yesterday — I was really feeling it. And it’s not your arm, it’s your body, just the middle of your body, the whole core — the front and the back is stiff.”

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What’s up, Trayce Thompson?

New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Trayce Thompson follows through on his walkoff home run Tuesday against the Mets. Thompson’s career wRC+ is a robust 137 in 203 plate appearances.

By Jon Weisman

Trayce Thompson has almost nothing in common with Alex Guerrero, except for this: People wondering, like they did last May with Guerrero, if he’s for real.

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Video: ‘Mid-Afternoon with Clayton Kershaw’

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Earlier this week, Clayton Kershaw had some fun with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk,” talking about his greatest Little League memory, his eephus pitch and most of all, the glorious physicality of A.J. Ellis. If you missed it, enjoy …

— Jon Weisman

Video: ‘The History of Beards,’ by Vin Scully

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During the top of the second inning Saturday, Vin Scully announced he had researched all things beards. Well, pull up a chair indeed …

— Jon Weisman

Video: Valenzuela’s ceremonial first pitch to Gonzalez

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Adrian Gonzalez served as catcher for Fernando Valenzuela’s ceremonial first pitch Thursday before the World Baseball Classic qualifier game between Mexico and the Czech Republic.

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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 — 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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Sandy Koufax: ‘I’m still part of the Dodgers … see you Opening Day’

Sandy Koufax shakes hands with Carl Crawford during the Dodgers' workout Friday.

Sandy Koufax shakes hands with Carl Crawford during the Dodgers’ workout Friday.

By Jon Weisman

Since it was revealed that Sandy Koufax no longer has an official, formal role with the Dodgers, there has been some concern. Koufax released a statement today through the Dodgers to address that:

“I’m 80 years old and I have retired.  I have not quit.  I’m still part of the Dodgers organization and always will be especially as long as Mark and Kimbra Walter are part of ownership.  I will do most of what I have done in the past with no official title.  I hope all the players, coaches, manager and everyone else in the clubhouse have successful and healthy seasons with a spectacular ending.  See you Opening Day.”

Clayton Kershaw spoke Friday about Koufax to Ken Gurnick of

“Whether or not he’s officially here, he’s still around,” Kershaw said of Koufax, who has ended his three-year stint in the front office but visited the club on Friday. “I don’t think it will change much for me. Sandy cares about us as a team, and I think he will be around when he can, and he’ll watch our games.”

Dodgers Love L.A. Tour begins with student mentoring

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Al Ferrara with students at Gratts Learning Academy. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Lee Lacy reads to the classroom of students at Crescent Heights Elementary. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Lee Lacy reads to a classroom at Crescent Heights Magnet. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

This year’s Dodgers Love L.A. Tour (presented by Bank of America) kicked off today with two events, starting this morning with a day of literacy celebration at five local schools. Austin Laymance of has more.

… At Gratts Learning Academy for Young Scholars, only a couple of Adrian Gonzalez home runs away from Dodger Stadium, former Dodgers outfielder Al Ferrara read “Curious George at the Baseball Game” to second- and third-grade students.

“This is as important as any hit I ever got,” Ferrara said after a busy day back in grade school. “There’s something about a child and the glint and the smile in their eyes that makes a big guy like me sort of fold a little bit.”

Ferrara also fielded a number of baseball-related questions from the kids, mixed in a story about Jackie Robinson, signed autographs and posed for pictures. …


Cookie Johnson sits with students at today’s mentoring luncheon at Dodger Stadium. (Ben Platt/

Also today, the Dodger Stadium Lexus Dugout Club hosted a mentoring lunch for students from New Village Girls Academy, in which Stan Kasten, Cookie Johnson and several Dodger alumni and front-office staff gave the students counsel about their future.

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Stan Kasten addresses the students. (Ben Platt/

Stan Kasten addresses the students. (Ben Platt/

Brandon McCarthy’s Players’ Tribune mailbag

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When I think of the Players’ Tribune, my mind goes back to the old Players Club ads with Telly Savalas. This is where I picture all these athletes hanging out, catching a show in the lounge while writing their pieces for the PT.

Surely, that was the setting for this jaunty Players’ Tribune mailbag from Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy. It’s impossible to pick out my favorite response, but for Dodger fans of all ages, surely this recap of his first encounter with Sandy Koufax works:

First off, he looks about 25 years younger than he is, so my first thought was to ask him about his skin care regimen. Deciding that was too personal, I said something like, “Crazy weather we’re having,” because it was overcast in Arizona. He might have said something in response, but I forget what it was, and honestly it’s not relevant to my story.

Sensing that he was dealing with a social dunce, he asked me about my curveball grip. I showed him, and he quickly showed me a much better way to hold it. My instincts to talk about the weather almost kicked in again before he continued talking about how important the grip is and how he used to hold his depending on what type of curveball he wanted to throw. We talked about the curveball for about half an hour even though I was cold, because it was overcast in Arizona. It will forever be one of my favorite career experiences.

Here’s a short peek into his thoughts about his lost 2015 season:

I wish I had a funny or better answer to this question other than “I don’t know,” but I don’t. I forgot to pack my sinker when I came to spring training and I think I was fighting against that. I was unable to get ground balls so I had to throw more four-seamers, leading to more strikeouts and more fly balls. Sample size for the season was so small and I was hurt for two of the games, so I choose to not look at last season as much of anything.

Read the entire mailbag here.

Setbacks only made Scott Kazmir stronger

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(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Technically, the only big-league season Scott Kazmir missed in his career was in 2012.

But the new Dodger left-hander actually went from September 2010 to May 2013 without a quality start, as he went through the challenges of tearing himself down and building himself back up.

After the Angels parted ways with him in June 2011, Kazmir began his comeback with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League — registering a 5.34 ERA in 64 innings — and winter ball with Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rican Winter League (where he was a teammate with Kiké Hernandez).

Eventually, he was rewarded with a successful comeback season for the Cleveland Indians (4.04 ERA, 3.51 FIP) at age 29 in 2013.

“It was a long process,” Kazmir said in a conference call with reporters today. “It was definitely a low point of me getting released by the Angels. I knd of wanted to take a step back and start from scratch — go back to fundamentals and really give myself great habits, and get away from those bad habits I created. Just hard work, going through winter ball and independent ball and slowly getting things back, slowly feeling comfortable and just getting to know my body more – I think that was the big difference for me.”

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Dodgers’ holiday card offers journey to remember

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Vin Scully narrates the Dodgers’ 2015 electronic holiday card, a winter fairy tale like you’ve never seen before.

— Jon Weisman

Frankie Montas: Future starter or fireman?

Jon Durr/Getty Images

Jon Durr/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

With many young pitchers, the Dodgers take their time to decide whether a starting or relief role is best. With newly acquired Frankie Montas, it will be no different.

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Think Blue Review: Post-Winter Meetings edition

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The latest Think Blue Review begins with the Winter Meetings and finishes with a closer look at the recent student entrepreneurs event supported by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

— Jon Weisman

Think Blue Review: Roberts Rules of Order

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Fresh off the Think Blue Review presses, this week’s edition captures Dave Roberts introduction today as Dodger manager.

Jon SooHoo has also posted a photo gallery from this warm welcome.

– Jon Weisman

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