Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Chad Gaudin

Several Dodger minor-leaguers become free agents

Matt West made his Dodger debut June 20. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Matt West made his Dodger debut June 20. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Earlier this morning, Matt Eddy of Baseball America posted a lengthy list of minor-leaguers who have just become free agents. That included more than two dozen names from the Dodgers, who have confirmed that they are no longer under contract with the organization.

Several of these players were signed by the Dodgers as recently as last winter, as part of the annual cycle of veteran minor-leaguers switching teams, though there is one prominent former Dodger draft pick among them.

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In case you missed it: Inside Zack Greinke’s ridiculous start to 2015

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Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles DodgersBy Jon Weisman

How many fans are even aware that Zack Greinke leads the Major Leagues in ERA? Here’s more on Greinke’s super season so far, plus other news and notes:

  • Some interesting tidbits about Greinke fill Pedro Moura’s story for the Register, based in no small part on a conversation with A.J. Ellis. Here’s a sample:

    In combination with his fastball, the changeup and slider have presented an unusual problem to the opposition. Ninety-three percent of Greinke’s pitches have been clocked within roughly 5 mph of each other. They’re released similarly, travel at unusually similar velocities, and then, approaching the plate, they split off in separate directions.

    “It’s pretty hard for hitters when the three pitches come in and you don’t know which way they’re going to go,” Ellis said. “Is it going to come straight through? Is it going to run down and in? Is it going down and away?”

    Greinke, whose fielding-independent ERA is higher than Clayton Kershaw’s, acknowledges he has been lucky on balls in play this season, in contrast to Kershaw and …

  • … Chris Hatcher, who spoke candidly about his recent struggles, as seen in this story by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. As with Moura’s article on Greinke, you need to read the entire story on Hatcher, but here’s an excerpt:

    Hatcher’s ERA in May was 3.00 entering Wednesday night (it is 6.00 now), after a 7.56 mark in April. But if there is one glaring difference in the two months, it’s in strikeouts. In April Hatcher struck out 15 of 38 batters faced (39.5%), but in May just two of 31 batters he faced have struck out.

    We are talking about all of 14⅓ innings on the season here, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. But peripherally Hatcher is having a fine season. Despite his 6.91 ERA, his 17 strikeout, five walks and no home runs allowed give him a 2.23 FIP and a 3.58 xFIP.

    But waiting for the numbers to even out isn’t a luxury most relief pitchers have, nor does it make giving up actual runs any less annoying.

    “I feel like every ball put in play is a hit off me, recently,” Hatcher said. “A couple of those were poor pitches. But what’s frustrating is when you execute your pitch and somehow the ball still finds the ground or the guy ends up on first.”

    Update: Here’s more analysis from Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest.

  • Julio Urias had his cosmetic eye surgery Thursday, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
  • “Dodgers pitcher Chad Gaudin recently underwent carpal tunnel release surgery on his right wrist and could be pitching in a month,” Ken Gurnick reported on MLB.com earlier this week.
  • Dodger senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith has been nominated for executive of the year at the Stadium Business Awards.
  • The fate of Mets third baseman David Wright resembles that of Don Mattingly during his days with the Yankees, writes Steven Martano of Beyond the Box Score.
  • Matt Holliday of tonight’s Dodger opponents in St. Louis has reached base in 43 consecutive games to start the season, “the longest streak in the National League since 1914” to open a season according to ESPN.com. David Cobb of MLB.com adds that the MLB record to start a season is 53 by Derek Jeter.

In case you missed it: Kershaw sails, Gaudin ails

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By Jon Weisman

In his first start since his dental denting last week, Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in the first inning today, then delivered five shutout innings, striking out eight, in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory over the White Sox.

Jose Abreu went 3 for 3 against Kershaw. The rest of the White Sox were 1 for 19 with a walk.

Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate today for Kershaw. “I’ve been watching his games and have a better feel for what he wants to do in certain counts, when to double-up and just see how he’s feeling out there,” Grandal told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “The more I catch him, the better I’ll get.”

Said Kershaw: “Better today. We were ahead in the counts more. I didn’t shake him off as much. It’s a learning process.”

Kershaw also sacrificed twice (once with two strikes) and had a two-out single.

After throwing 88 pitches today, Kershaw will scale back for his final Cactus League outing, scheduled on five days’ rest against Kansas City on Wednesday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times, before taking his Opening Day start on four days’ rest April 6.

The power-happy Dodgers delivered three more homers, including booming shots by Yasiel Puig and Kiké Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins’ first of the spring. Rollins also doubled and had four RBI, and threw out the quick Emilio Bonifacio today from the outfield grass.

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  • Chad Gaudin, who missed the 2014 season because of neck surgery, has had a recurrence of neck discomfort, according to Gurnick. Gaudin will have an MRI, the latest in a series following Brandon League (who will have a follow-up exam Friday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache), Erik Bedard and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
  • There was some pregame mischief today with Tommy Lasorda and a golf cart, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • The Dodgers have sold their 3,000,000th ticket on their earliest date ever, the team has announced.
  • Don Mattingly, speaking to MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby about the concerns over low offense in baseball: “The commissioner (Rob Manfred) talked about banning shifts,” Mattingly said. “Why don’t we teach guys to hit? Go back to teaching hitters to use the whole field and keep the ball in the strike zone.”
  • It’s hard not to like Eric Stephen’s bullpen battle flowchart at True Blue L.A.
  • The Dodgers sit fourth in right field and 11th in left field on Fangraph’s positional power rankings.
  • If you can’t get enough overviews of the Dodgers’ top prospects, here’s Jim Callis of MLB.com with his latest.

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.

 

In case you missed it nightcap: Up, down and away

By Jon Weisman

Today’s resounding comeback victory — 10-5 after trailing 4-0 — didn’t forestall Austin Barnes, O’Koyea Dickson or Erisbel Arruebarrena being optioned to minor league camp after the game.

Here are some notes and news to take in before bedtime …

  • It’s a fantabulous night for a moondance, and for reading this Eric Nusbaum profile at Vice Sports about “The Likable, Unlikely Career of Juan Uribe.”
  • Zack Greinke went back to his old slider grip during an outing today that he considered an improvement, reports True Blue L.A.’s Eric Stephen, who adds an interesting quote from Greinke about the Alamo and Ozzy Osbourne.
  • Chad Gaudin hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2013, but count him among the relievers making a strong bid to be a factor in the bullpen this year, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Gaudin pitched a perfect sixth inning today, striking out Stephen Vogt and Mark Canha.
  • Yimi Garcia, who threw a scoreless inning today, has retired 13 of 15 batters he has faced this spring.
  • New commissioner Rob Manfred visited the Dodgers today, as Gurnick notes, and part of the conversation was the long-overdue return of the All-Star Game to Los Angeles. No MLB team has gone longer without one than the Dodgers, who last hosted in 1980.
  • The official dedication of the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication at Bradley will be held March 31.
  • Two oldie but goodie former Dodgers each signed minor-league deals today: 37-year-old Rafael Furcal with the Royals and 38-year-old Randy Wolf with the Blue Jays.
  • At ESPN.com, Anna McDonald writes about how Major League Baseball is dealing with anxiety and depression among its players.

 

In case you missed it: Tie goes to the Dodgers

Indians at Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasmani Grandal, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Chris Heisey, RF
(Brett Anderson, P)

By Jon Weisman

So, the down-to-the-wire Dodgers remained at it Friday, rallying in the ninth inning to improve/unimprove their record to 2-1-4 over their past seven games.

Now, onto the rest of the wardrobe …

  • On the night Joel Peralta made his first Cactus League appearance, Brandon League was scratched from a planned outing Friday because of a tender shoulder, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • The Dodgers seem to think there might well be a reason why an Aroldis Chapman pitch Friday went behind Justin Turner’s knees, writes Gurnick.
  • Daniel Coulombe, who has retired nine of 10 batters faced this spring, is profiled in this feature by Gurnick that begins with a suspenseful tale involving Coulombe’s grandfather in World War II.
  • Chad Gaudin, who was warming up in the bullpen during Will Ferrell’s stunt Thursday, was also the pitcher facing sportswriter Tom Verducci during a Spring Training game in 2005, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
  • Minor league camp opens today for the Dodgers. The minor-league schedule of games was posted by Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A. and begins March 20.
  • “A revised form of head protection was approved Friday by Major League Baseball for pitchers to begin using immediately if they choose,” reports William Weinbaum of ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
  • Yasiel Puig has a stomach issue that is keeping him out of today’s starting lineup, but that doesn’t mean Yasiel Puig isn’t playing ball (on PlayStation’s MLB 15 The Show):

Los Angeles Dodgers vs the Cincinnati Reds

For more photos from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog

In case you missed it: Yasmani happy returns

Los Angeles Dodgers at Cleveland Indians

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Brewers at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Kike Hernandez, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Chris Heisey, LF
Scott Schebler, DH
Darwin Barney, SS
(Brandon McCarthy, P)

By Jon Weisman

Fun while it lasts: 14 Dodgers have on-base percentages of .400 or greater so far, topped by Joc Pederson (5 for 7, .714) and Alex Guerrero (6 for 9, .667). O’Koyea Dickson (10), Guerrero (nine) and Scott Schebler (eight) lead the team in total bases.

Yasmani Grandal got in the act in a big way during Saturday’s 5-5 tie with the Indians, hitting a home run, a single, and a single that just missed being another home run.

Here’s what we can reflect on as we head into Brandon McCarthy’s first start as a Dodger exhibitioner:

  • Grandal on his home run, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com: “I always like to drive the ball the other way. In the offseason, that’s what I worked on a lot instead of jumping at the ball right away,” said Grandal. “A lot of my power is the other way.”
  • Carl Crawford fouled a pitch off his shin in the fourth inning Saturday. It wasn’t believed serious, Gurnick reported, but today would bring more enlightenment. (Update: Crawford said today he plans to play Monday.)
  • A wild pitch contributed to a run in Mike Bolsinger’s two-inning outing Saturday, while Chad Gaudin stepped in with three strikeouts in two shutout innings. J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News has quotes from Bolsinger.
  • Chin-Hui Tsao came out of minor-league camp to get an inning-ending double-play grounder on his first pitch of relief Saturday, and ended up with the longest outing by a Dodger pitcher so far this year, 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is on track to make his first start of 2015 on Thursday against the Padres (and Matt Kemp?) after a successful batting-practice session Saturday, according to Gurnick.
  • The Dodgers might add a B game this week to get more innings for pitchers to work, writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Thanks to his early start with the Dodgers as a teenager in 1998, Adrian Beltre is the No. 1 candidate to become MLB’s next four-decade player, according to Paul Casella of Sports on Earth. But don’t count out 37-year-old fellow former folk hero Buddy Carlyle and his 284 1/3 big-league innings since 1999.

In case you missed it: Strike one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine …

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

The picture above, of a ball thrown by Clayton Kershaw, efficiently shows he is able to strike out the side at any given moment.

That was then, this is … also then:

  • Kershaw had identical strikeout-walk ratios to righty and lefty batters in 2014, a development that intrigued Alec Dopp at Gammons Daily.
  • Joel Peralta, who is behind on his throwing program, could join Kenley Jansen and Chris Withrow on the Opening Day disabled list, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu was held out of workouts today but is expected back Thursday, reports Gurnick.
  • Newly signed Chad Gaudin missed the 2014 season after having a rare surgical procedure, unprecedented for an MLB player, writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Stephen also has an entertaining notebook of Week 1 Spring Training observations.
  • Ryu is the Dodgers’ fastest-working pitcher, and Peralta the slowest. Read more about it from Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest.
  • Paco Rodriguez talked about his offseason adjustments with Ron Cervenka of Think Blue LA.
  • Alex Guerrero’s thoughts about changing relations between U.S. and Cuba and his evolving status with the Dodgers can be found in this piece by Bill Plunkett of the Register.

"Goodbye LA. Off to Arizona #SpringTraining." –@tommy2lasorda

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