Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Adam Liberatore (Page 2 of 2)

Dodger minor league report No. 19: Peeking at September

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By Jon Weisman

We got a jump on this week’s minor league report Tuesday by highlighting the performances of Julio Urias, Jharel Cotton and Corey Seager. And with a morning Dodger game at Cincinnati on Thursday — the last Dodger game east of the Rockies in the 2015 regular season — we’re going to get to the farm report itself a day early.

Already, conversation is hot and heavy about whom the Dodgers might call up when rosters expand September 1. The Dodgers have said they won’t call up players willy-nilly without a specific purpose, but that’s not to say this team doesn’t have several specific purposes to address.

Here are the candidates from the 40-man roster:

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Dodgers option Liberatore, recall Thomas, ponder pitching

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Dodgers at Braves, 9:10 a.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Brett Anderson has avoided the disabled list for now and has an outside shot at taking his next turn in the Dodger starting rotation Sunday after leaving Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta in the third inning with irritation in the left Achilles’ tendon area.

Dodger manager Don Mattingly told reporters before today’s early game against Atlanta that Anderson is getting tests, but that he showed up to work today in better condition than Dodger vice president of medical services Stan Conte expected he would be. So an expected move to the disabled list for Anderson is on hold.

Anderson initially felt discomfort in the first inning during a grounder by Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons, then decided enough was enough after attempting to field a Jonny Gomes swinging bunt, according to Carlos Collazo of

“(It) just kind of kept getting tired and more sore,” Anderson told Collazo. “I wasn’t able to push off the rubber like I normally was, and it was affecting my command. … Even with all the other (injuries), I’ve never taken myself out, but it was one of those things where I felt like if it got worse then it would make it worse in the long run.”

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves

However, a bullpen that has thrown 11 1/3 innings in the past 40 hours does need some backup, so the Dodgers have optioned Adam Liberatore to Triple-A Oklahoma City and called up Ian Thomas.

Liberatore took a 1.29 ERA and .363 opponents’ OPS into June. Since then, however, those numbers have gone to 7.50 and .917. In July, nine of 19 batters have reached base against Liberatore, with no strikeouts.

This is Thomas’  fourth callup by the Dodgers this season, moving him within one of Daniel Coulombe’s team-leading five. In his most recent appearance, Thomas pitched two shutout innings July 7 against the Phillies, walking one and striking out two.

With Oklahoma City, Thomas had lowered his ERA to 3.16 on June 17, then allowed 10 runs in eight innings across two games (June 27-July 2). In his last two Triple-A appearances, he has pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings.

After Mike Bolsinger pitches today, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will take the Dodgers’ Thursday-Friday starts against the Mets. The Dodgers haven’t announced who will take Saturday’s start in place of Brandon Beachy, and a potential replacement if Anderson can’t go Sunday is also undecided.

Eric Stults, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are the listed Friday-Saturday-Sunday starting pitchers for Oklahoma City. Trevor Cahill is today’s Triple-A starter.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wrote about the Dodger front office’s pursuit of pitching.

“I don’t know that we could ratchet up our search for starting pitching any more than we already are,” general manager Farhan Zaidi told Saxon.

On the bright side for the Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal is back in the lineup for the first time since taking a hard foul ball off the jaw Sunday, and Carl Crawford (who pinch-ran Tuesday) is making his first start since April 27. Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner have scheduled days off.

Turner, who hit his first homer of July on Tuesday and is 12 for 22 since July 12, but the Dodgers believe that he needs rest every few days to avoid wearing down.

Backstage Baristas: The Dodgers’ annual Wrigley coffee run

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Though not strictly a rookie move — Mike Bolsinger is technically a veteran — the Dodgers renewed their tradition of sending a newbie or three out into the streets near Wrigley Field to get coffee and coffee-like drinks. SportsNet LA’s “Backstage Dodgers” shared a clip.

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers’ finishing kick boots Rockies

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By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw had a snakebit fourth inning today and couldn’t get out of the sixth, but the Dodgers again asserted their late-inning strength to come away with a 9-5 victory at Colorado.

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  • After Kershaw allowed five runs in the fourth, Adrian Gonzalez’s bases-loaded double tied the game in the top of the fifth. Gonzalez had two doubles against lefty Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa.
  • Replacing Kershaw with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the sixth, Pedro Baez struck out Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki. In his past seven outings, Baez has a 0.00 ERA and stranded all eight inherited runners, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Reserve utilityman Kiké Hernandez started the eighth inning with a single, and after an A.J. Ellis sacrifice, super-reserve utilityman Justin Turner (batting for Baez) hit his fifth homer in 52 at-bats this season. That started a four-run inning that was capped by Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to short.
  • Rookie lefty Adam Liberatore retired all four batters he faced. Incredibly, Liberatore has now faced 27 batters in his MLB career and retired 26 of them.
  • Yimi Garcia finished things up by striking out the last two batters of the game. Garcia (0.63 ERA) has faced 52 batters this season, allowing four singles and four walks while striking out 23.

Joc Pederson had three of the Dodgers’ 10 walks, while Jimmy Rollins (who scored on the sac fly to short), Howie Kendrick and Chris Heisey also reached base three times apiece. With 14 doubles and 29 RBI, Gonzalez is tied for the National League lead in both categories.

The Dodgers (20-10) extended their NL West lead to a season-high 4 1/2 games.

In case you missed it: Viniversary

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Colorado Rockies

For more photos from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

A quick stack of news and notes …

  • Today is the 65th anniversary of Vin Scully’s first Dodger broadcast.
  • Maury Wills is being inducted into the Washington D.C. Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday.
  • David Huff is back with Oklahoma City after clearing waivers and accepting an assignment there.
  • Adam Liberatore, called up before Friday’s game, pitched a perfect inning in his MLB debut.
  • Yasiel Puig is back in the Dodger lineup, but Carl Crawford is battling the flu. Taking Crawford’s place is Andre Ethier, who is 7 for 20 with three walks and three extra-base hits this season, for a 1.091 OPS.
  • Zack Greinke takes the hill tonight with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings, with eight baserunners against 11 strikeouts.
  • Kenley Jansen threw off a mound today for the first time since his February foot surgery.
  • The year’s first Viva Los Dodgers (presented by State Farm and Time Warner Cable) will take place at 11 a.m. at the historic 76 station behind center field. If it’s warm out there, blame the red-hot Dodger slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who will make a special appearance from 11-11:30 a.m. to officially launch his community program, Adrian Gonzalez’s Viva Los Dodgers Days. Manny Mota will sign autographs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., and musical entertainment will be provided by Latin Grammy-nominated Trio Ellas and Mexican regional artist Jesus Mendoza.
  • In addition, mega-DJ Steve Aoki will be at Dodger Stadium on Sunday for a pregame performance.

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Dodgers make difficult cuts to set 25-man roster

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Here it is: the Dodgers’ Opening Day 25-man roster …

Starting pitchers (4): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson

Relief pitchers (7): Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta, Paco Rodriguez

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal

Infielders (7): Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Juan Uribe, Darwin Barney, Alex Guerrero, Justin Turner

Outfielders (5): Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke

Disabled list (4): Brandon Beachy, Kenley Jansen, Brandon League, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Withrow

As evidenced by the ninth-inning homer that Kiké Hernandez hit tonight, giving the Dodgers an unreal eighth tie of Spring Training, the Dodgers are sending a lot of talent back to the minors. Hernandez alone hit six home runs during Spring Training.

Chris Heisey, David Aardsma, David Huff, Adam Liberatore and Sergio Santos were also among the last cuts.

“We feel very strongly we sent down some Major League players,” Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters after the game. “To have that depth is key.”

In the bullpen, the Dodgers kept three relievers who had options remaining — Baez, Garcia and Rodriguez — at the expense of others with more big-league experience, giving them five relievers age 30 or under. Though they released Dustin McGowan earlier this week, the Dodgers lost no other talent at the roster deadline, so their stockpile of relievers remains — and that’s with Jansen, League and Withrow potentially returning at various times later this year.

Liberatore, who struck out nine in 10 1/3 scoreless innings this spring while allowing seven baserunners, was a particularly close call, but as with so many of these players, he’ll likely have his chance. That the 27-year-old hasn’t made his MLB debut yet worked against him for Opening Day, said Friedman, who valued the younger Rodriguez’s experience for the start of the season.

Rodriguez not only matched Liberatore’s scoreless spring, he struck out 13 in 10 2/3 innings. But as the Dodgers have maintained all along, it’s about more than just numbers.

“Paco probably generated some of the worst swings out of hitters this camp,” said Friedman.  “Lib will get his chance.”

Mike Adams, who appears to be contemplating retirement, is technically reassigned to minor-league camp, according to Friedman.

Left unsaid for now is who will be the Dodgers’ fifth starter come April 14. Because that date comes less than 10 days after the start of the season — and the start of his option this year to the minors — Joe Wieland could fill that role only if he replaces a player who goes on the disabled list. A player not currently on the 40-man roster, such as Huff, could have his contract purchased for a spot start if the Dodgers make room for him.

Also delayed: Paring the Dodger bench. The Dodgers will begin the season with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, but by mid-April, the Dodgers figure to go with a 12-man pitching staff. Barney, who has done nothing but impress since becoming a Dodger last year, nevertheless stands as a player who could spend time in the minors, however briefly, if no other moves are made.

In my 14 seasons blogging about the Dodgers (I’m staring at that “14” in disbelief), this is the deepest team they have brought to Opening Day. Not every question has been answered, but no team has ever been bulletproof.  The bench and farm system are as rich as they’ve been since, well, the 1900s. Even starting the season with their No. 3 starter and No. 1 reliever on the disabled list, it’s striking how much talent the 2015 Dodgers have to draw from up and down the line.

Thrills, spills and chills in the outfield

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For images from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Los Angeles Dodgers at the Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimBy Jon Weisman

While Thursday’s game for the Dodgers, a 3-2 loss to the Angels, was meant to be about the bullpen, the outfielder kept drawing our eyes away.

First, there was Joc Pederson’s tumbling, volleyballing catch in center, where he bumped and set the ball in the air before nearly spiking it, instead hanging on for the out.

Then, there was the collision between Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig in short right field, which threatened to be the worst jolt to a Dodger throat since a shard of Bill Russell’s broken bat impaled Steve Yeager in the on-deck circle nearly 40 years ago.

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Los Angeles Dodgers at the Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimPuig remained horizontal on his frontside for a couple minutes before returning to his feet and walking off the field on his own power. He was examined (his chin apparently taking part of the blow) and found to be fine, his removal from the game simply to take advantage of the few remaining ticks of exhibition season to let him begin decompressing early. He’s expected back as soon as tonight, though again, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Dodgers allowed him 24 more hours convalescence.

The collision, weirdly enough, came in Kendrick’s first game in Anaheim as a visiting player.

“There hasn’t been any trouble out there all spring,” Don Mattingly said after the game, as Clay Fowler of the Daily News reported. “It was just one of those things. I don’t know if Yasiel didn’t think he could call it early enough. I mean you can’t call for it until you know you’ve got it, so everybody keeps coming until the end. And obviously with him calling it late, Howie’s going to keep going and he’s going to have trouble stopping. … That’s when it gets dangerous.”

As for the pitching, the Dodgers were good to their word, using eight pitchers for exactly one inning each (though minor-leaguer Josh Ravin faced one batter in the fifth inning – Mike Trout, who hit the ball to Puig and Kendrick that ended up being ruled an infield triple. Sergio Santos went first for the Dodgers, allowing a one-out homer to that man Trout, who can apparently play a little ball.

Los Angeles Dodgers at the Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimAdam Liberatore (pictured) and Paco Rodriguez each added a shutout inning to their ERAly perfect springs, continuing to make it difficult for the Dodgers to option them even in the short term, while J.P. Howell and Chris Hatcher continued their comebacks from uneven Marches with shutout innings of their own. Righties Pedro Baez and Joel Peralta also pitched shutout innings.

Hatcher, who might see some ninth-inning action in the absence of Kenley Jansen, has been in nine games this spring, pitching shutout ball in seven of them and allowing three runs in each of the other two.

Among the position players, Darwin Barney extended his effort to stave off demotion by doubling off the bench. In his past five games, the stalwart defender is 6 for 9 with three doubles and a triple. Pederson had the Dodgers’ only extra-base hit against Angels starter Matt Shoemaker, an RBI double, as part of a 1-for-3 night.

In case you missed it: Guerrero goes deep twice, gets one homer


For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Justin Turner, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Darwin Barney, 2B
Carlos Frias, P

By Jon Weisman

Alex Guerrero homered to left in his second at-bat of Saturday’s 5-4 Dodger victory over the Angels, but it was the out he made in the first inning that might be the Dodgers’ most memorable blast of the spring.

Guerrero, who finished 2 for 4, launched one to the 420-foot mark in center field, only for Angels center fielder Mike Trout to rise above the wall to grab it.

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Rangers at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chris Heisey, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Buck Britton, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Brandon McCarthy, P

What else have we got?

  • One of the big points of discussion emerging after Saturday’s game was whether the pitching of J.P. Howell, David Huff, Paco Rodriguez and Adam Liberatore could encourage the Dodgers to carry more lefty relievers than you’d ever have expected. Ken Gurnick of, Bill Plunkett of the Register and Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles lay things out.
  • J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News has more specifically on Huff.
  • Joe Posnanski tells a baseball integration and acceptance story through the life of former Dodger Bobby Bragan.

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.

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Outfield competition front in center as Cactus League opens

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Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles DodgersBy Jon Weisman

On the first day of Cactus League play, Joc Pederson had two hits while playing designated hitter. Andre Ethier struck out twice while playing center field, but he probably wouldn’t have minded that much if he had made a diving catch at the warning track.

Well, there’s always the next game.

“Just a tough play,” Ethier told Phil Rogers of “It’s one where you have to make a break on it, try to keep an eye on the ball the best you can, not lose it. I got there, just didn’t bring it in.”

Said Don Mattingly: “As we get into spring, he catches that ball all day long.”

Despite losing to the White Sox, 6-4, it was a pretty eventful day in general for the Dodgers. Most of the action came after the starters were pulled …

  • O’Koyea Dickson hit the Dodgers’ first homer of the exhibition season, turning on a ball at his knees and pulling it over the wall in left.
  • Alex Guerrero had two hits off the bench, playing third base.
  • Corey Seager and Darnell Sweeney each singled and walked.
  • Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 2, but fellow newcomers Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes each went 0 for 2.
  • Juan Nicasio was the domino that fell over after Ethier’s near-miss, allowing three runs in the third inning.
  • Carlos Frias allowed two runs on three hits and two walks, but struck out five. Batting average on balls in play: .750.
  • Sergio Santos, Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin each pitched a perfect inning. Liberatore struck out two.
  • The Dodgers had the tying runs on base with none out in the ninth after singles by Sweeney, Guerrero and Seager scored their fourth run, but Kyle Jensen flied out, Kiké Hernandez struck out and Scott Schebler grounded out.

Dodgers acquire pitchers Peralta, Liberatore from Rays

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By Jon Weisman

It was Friday morning in Tampa Bay but Thursday evening in Los Angeles when the Rays and Dodgers announced a trade: The Dodgers have acquired pitchers Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore from Andrew Friedman’s former team in exchange for pitchers Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.

Peralta, who turns 39 in March, had a 4.41 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 69 games for Tampa Bay this year. His ERA in 2014 was deceptive; according to Fangraphs, his xFIP (expected fielding-independent ERA) was 3.11. With Jamey Wright a free agent, Peralta takes the crown as oldest active Dodger from 35-year-old Juan Uribe, who was the senior senor for a few weeks there.

Liberatore, a 27-year-old minor-league lefty who will also be added to the 40-man roster, had a 1.66 ERA and 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 54 games for Triple-A Durham.

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They join a Dodger bullpen mix that includes Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson, Pedro Baez, Daniel Coulombe, Yimi Garcia, Brandon League and Paco Rodriguez, among others.

Going to Tampa Bay will be the hard-throwing 24-year-old Dominguez, who struck out 12 in 14 2/3 career MLB innings while allowing 10 earned runs, and Harris, a 20-year-old righty who had a 4.45 ERA and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 87 innings for Single-A Great Lakes.

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