Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Chris Hatcher (Page 2 of 3)

Hatcher emerges as primary set-up man to Jansen

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Since he came off the disabled list in August, opponents are hitting .163/.239/.313/.551 against Chris Hatcher. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

No longer is there any doubt about who is the Dodgers’ primary eighth-inning reliever in the bullpen.

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Taking the panic out of the Dodgers’ improved bullpen

Chris Hatcher (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chris Hatcher has allowed a .529 OPS since August 31. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Pirates at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXXIX: Kershawlk the Line
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Heisey, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Maybe you groaned when Zack Greinke left Friday’s Dodger game in the eighth inning. Maybe you thought “Here we go again” when Chris Hatcher gave up an RBI single to Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte on his very first pitch.

But if you’ve really been paying attention lately, you might have noticed that was an aberration.

And you might not have been surprised that Hatcher came right back, buckled down and got the Pirates’ most dangerous hitter, Andrew McCutchen, to foul out, before Aramis Ramirez grounded modestly to first base.

Since September 1, the Dodger bullpen has the second-lowest WHIP (1.03) in the National League and is first in strikeout-walk ratio. These are among several encouraging signs for a relief staff that was strong in the first third of the 2015 season before slumping terribly in the middle portion.

Though not exactly like the team’s 180-degree basestealing turn (an MLB-best 34 for 43 since August 1), the Dodger bullpen seems to have evolved from a weakness into, if not an out-and-out strength, at least an adequacy.

Understandably, there’s still the fear that this could all blow up again in a minute. But to give credit where credit is due: Since the Dodgers’ disastrous 0-5 roadtrip from August 18-23, they have played 23 games. Here’s how many times the bullpen has hurt the Dodgers …

  • September 3: Dodgers lead 7-4 in sixth inning at San Diego, lose 10-7.
  • September 9: Dodgers tied 2-2 in eighth inning at Anaheim, lose 3-2.
  • September 15: Dodgers trail 3-1 in seventh inning vs. Colorado, lose 5-4 in 16 innings.

I’d argue that the last example shouldn’t even count: Dodger relievers allowed one run in nine innings before erstwhile starting pitcher Mat Latos gave up the 16th-inning homer to Nolan Arenado. But even including that defeat, that’s an encouraging slate.

The Dodgers are 18-5 since August 25, despite only one complete game and 72 1/3 innings from the bullpen.

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In case you missed it: Adrian Gonzalez the sportsman

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By Jon Weisman

During the day Monday, Adrian Gonzalez was named the Dodgers’ nominee for the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award, which honors “a player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

Lately, Gonzalez has needed to display a great deal of sportsmanship alongside athleticism to come away foul balls. First there was the one in Chicago involving a Wrigley Field fan holding a baby. Then came Monday night’s fifth-inning foul ball, which Gonzalez caught despite a Boston-capped fan nearly tearing Gonzalez’s glove off.

Gonzalez not only came away triumphant on that play, he made a nifty defensive stab to record the final out of the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory over the Rockies.

Clayton Kershaw won the award in 2012, and Jimmy Rollins shared the honor with Paul Konerko in 2014.

Here are some other bits and bunts …

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  • Chef Dave Pearson, who passed away Saturday, received a tribute Monday before the National Anthem.
  • According to Stats LLC (via the Dodgers’ public relations department), the Dodgers’ 35-10 (.778) record in home games decided by three or fewer runs is currently the second-best in MLB history, behind only the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (35-9, .795).
  • Called upon to save Monday’s game with Kenley Jansen requiring a day off, Chris Hatcher did the trick, lowering his ERA to 1.35 since coming off the disabled list August 15. In 13 1/3 innings, he has struck out 16 and allowed 13 baserunners.
  • Yasmani Grandal ended his 0-for-36 (with eight walks) slump Monday with two hits, which themselves followed a sacrifice fly.
  • Fan voting has begun for the Esurance MLB Awards. Dodger nominees include Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw for Best Major Leaguer and Best Starting Pitcher (Kershaw won both in 2014), and Joc Pederson for Best Rookie. Many more categories will follow between now and when voting ends November 13. (Five different groups of voters — fans, members of the baseball media, club front-office personnel, former MLB players and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members — each count for 20 percent of the total.) T
  • The Institute for Baseball Studies is presenting, “The Dodgers Come to Los Angeles: Politics and Pennants in Paradise,” featuring Andy McCue and Wes Parker, at 7:00 p.m. September 27 at Villalobos Hall on the campus of Whittier College.
  • Justin Turner, nominated for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award last week, is now a finalist, representing the National League West. Kershaw won last year.
  • I’ve seen some hard foul balls in my time, but I’m amazed this one Monday didn’t do some real damage to someone.

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Marathon win a well-earned celebration for Chris Hatcher

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By Jon Weisman

Chris Hatcher, man.

Everyone killed Chris Hatcher this year. Practically from the day after his Opening Day save to the days after he came off the disabled list in August, the abuse this guy took. It’s not that he pitched great. But it was the condemnation, the notion that he was hopeless. Forget about the potential. “DFA him!” Or worse.

Then comes a night like tonight, and this is why I love baseball. For the redemption. For the Juan Uribes. For the Chris Hatchers.

It’s why I’m always so shocked that people are so quick to give up on a player. Because the redemption is all around you.

The season wasn’t on the line tonight. But the psyche was. And Chris Hatcher stepped up and threw three shutout innings, the longest outing of his career, and long enough to get the Dodgers to the bottom of the 14th, when Adrian Gonzalez followed a walk and two singles with a game-winning hit to left field, for a 5-4 Dodger victory.

It was a win for Hatcher, but less of a fluke than many fans would realize. Since returning to action August 15, Hatcher has thrown 8 1/3 innings and allowed one run on eight baserunners while striking out 11.

It was a win for the bullpen — admittedly, after Juan Nicasio did surrender a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. But maybe not so much of a fluke either.

Bullpen 9-1

That’s just a week of work, but what a week: 26 innings with a 0.69 ERA (plus one additional inherited run allowed to score) and 9.35 strikeouts per nine innings. The walks are still too high — and it was a walk that set up Nicasio for the blown save — but if you can’t see the blue sky there, you must live for clouds.

Not for nothing, the maligned Jim Johnson pitched two shutout innings (despite hitting his fourth batter as a Dodger). Fellow former Brave reliever Luis Avilan pitched a perfect inning and has retired 10 batters in a row over his last five games, all in crucial situations. Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen also had shutout innings.

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Don’t let me leave Gonzalez out of this party. It was the slugging first baseman who, after Marlon Byrd’s unfathomable two-run infield single in the third inning gave the Giants the lead, tied this game in the sixth with a two-run home run, his 25th of the year. (One batter later, Andre Ethier’s home run put the Dodgers ahead.)

And it was Gonzalez who, rather than let the Giants start to think they might sneak out of their bases-loaded, none-out jam in the 15th, delivered the first-pitch, no-doubt game-winner.

Moments like Gonzalez’s are the reasons baseball thrills me. Moments like Hatcher’s are the reasons baseball makes me care.

So much, that I don’t even completely regret missing this …

Kershaw, Ellis thwarted for second time on roadtrip

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By Jon Weisman

On Tuesday in Oakland, Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis had big games, but they went for naught in an extra-inning defeat. Today in Houston, it happened again in a 3-2, 10-inning loss to Houston — the Dodgers’ fifth straight loss.

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Juan Nicasio placed on disabled list, Chris Hatcher activated

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Kiké Hernandez, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Juan Nicasio has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Aug. 10) with a left abdominal strain by the Dodgers, who have activated Chris Hatcher from the 60-day DL.

Carlos Frias, out since July 1, has been moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Nicasio has allowed 62 baserunners in 47 innings this season while striking out 52. Since allowing three runs on July 5 and again on July 7, the right-hander, who turns 29 at the end of the month, has allowed two runs in 11 innings (with 13 strikeouts) and stranded all three inherited runners.

Hatcher has allowed 31 baserunners in his 18 1/3 Dodger innings with 19 strikeouts.

Some other quick notes …

  • Yasmani Grandal has been nursing a sore left (non-throwing) shoulder, but is back in the lineup tonight. Justin Turner also makes his first start since returning from the disabled list.
  • Joc Pederson on Thursday hit his second homer since July 1. Mike Petriello looked at Pederson’s contact rates for
  • Mat Latos spoke about his own struggles Thursday after a second consecutive subpar start. From Bill Plunkett of the Register:

    “I just need to get back to pitching like me instead of trying to fool everybody, throw too many breaking pitches and so on and so forth,” Latos said. “Go look back at video and try to make some adjustments on how I used to pitch when I was getting outs.”

    Latos could not say when that drift occurred and whether the change was in response to a gameplan devised by his new team, saying only that it has been “kind of like spring training all over again, trying to get used to a new team, get used to a new catcher.”

    “I honestly can’t tell you,” he said. “I need to go back and look a couple years back when I was more fastball dominant, throwing more fastballs, locating better. I’ve gotten away from that and started throwing much more off-speed.

The next two days at Dodger Insider will be relatively quiet because of family events. Will catch up with you soon …

Dodger minor league report No. 17: Wieland dealing, Hatcher healing

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

We begin this week’s Minor League Report with an update on two pitchers you saw with the Dodgers earlier this year.

Joe Wieland had his best game of the season Tuesday, with seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings in a 9-0 Triple-A Oklahoma City victory at New Orleans. For Wieland, continuing a comeback from 2012 and 2014 surgeries, it came two starts after he allowed only one run in seven innings at Memphis. Since July 26, Wieland has a 2.92 ERA.

Also, relief pitcher Chris Hatcher, on the 60-day disabled list, could be activated by the Dodgers as soon as this weekend.

Hatcher, who has been out since June 14 with a left oblique strain, picked up the save for the Dodgers on Opening Day before struggling to a 6.38 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, despite 19 strikeouts. He pitched a shutout inning Tuesday, but has allowed four runs on seven baserunners in 4 1/3 innings with Oklahoma City.

And now, this week’s tour …

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In case you missed it: On the off day


By Jon Weisman

Good day, everyone. I’ve got a long buildup of links to share, and today’s off day provides the opportunity.

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Scott Van Slyke activated, Chris Hatcher placed on disabled list

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Rangers at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXIII: Kershawlicon Valley
Yasiel Puig, RF
Chris Heisey, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke has come off the disabled list and into the Dodger starting lineup tonight against Texas lefty Wandy Rodriguez, but he is taking the roster spot of a pitcher, not a position player.

Righty reliever Chris Hatcher has been placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to June 15.

For the time being, that leaves the Dodgers with a season-low six pitchers in their bullpen: righties Kenley Jansen, Yimi Garcia, Juan Nicasio and Josh Ravin, and lefties J.P. Howell and Adam Liberatore.

Liberatore is the only Dodger who has pitched in two games since Friday. The Dodgers have gotten a pair of eight-inning outings in that time, from Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson.

Van Slyke enters tonight’s game 6 for 21 with a double and four walks against southpaws this season (.756 OPS). Last year, Van Slyke had a 1.045 OPS in 130 plate appearances against left-handers.

Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers would likely go back to a seven-man bullpen as soon as Thursday.

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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 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 David Cobb of adds that the MLB record to start a season is 53 by Derek Jeter.

In case you missed it: New stat places A.J. Ellis No. 1 in game-calling

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis — who was thrust into action midway through Friday’s 2-1 victory over San Diego after Yasmani Grandal was injured — has taken some grief in recent times for not being a strong pitch framer. However, according to a report by Harry Pavlidis for, Ellis ranks No. 1 in Major League Baseball in a new statistic measuring game calling: game-calling runs above average (GCAA).

Here’s a fun task: Try quantifying something as ephemeral as game-calling. Well, after a decade of research, that’s just what we’ve managed to do — by crafting a statistical model that attempts to quantify the value of everything from stolen-base prevention and directing pace of play to identifying hitter tendencies like swing behavior in various game situations and knowing which batters expand hit zones in RBI opportunities. Sound complicated? Oh, it is. But based on these factors, and controlling for others, we can now quantify, in runs saved, how well catchers manage their pitchers. …

… Ellis is the best game caller in the business, and now we can actually prove it. His game-calling alone saved the Dodgers 38 runs from 2012 to 2014, though he gave back 19 of those runs with everything else he did behind the plate (see below). Does it hurt to be Ellis? At times, perhaps. But at least now, when that ninth foul tip slaps his once-unheralded (but now-appreciated) inner thigh, it might not sting quite so much.

There’s not a whole lot of detail in describing the methodology behind GCAA, so we’ll see how it stands up to scrutiny. Update: On his Twitter feed, Pavlidis has been adding to the discussion.

Grandal, meanwhile, is uncertain for tonight’s game after being hit in the face in consecutive innings Friday by Yangervis Solarte’s bat and a Matt Kemp foul ball. Triple-A catcher Austin Barnes was removed midway through Oklahoma City’s game Friday in case he needs to be called up. Ken Gurnick of has more details.

In other developments …

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu spoke to reporters post-surgery Friday, and revealed that there was knowledge about his labrum tear two years and 344 innings of 3.17 ERA ago. ” Ryu, his left arm in a sling during a Dodger Stadium news conference, said he was always able to pitch with it and figured he’d be able to again after it flared up in Spring Training,” wrote Gurnick.
  • Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford are not much closer to returning to the Dodger outfield, Don Mattingly told reporters Friday. Puig, who has an .845 OPS in 50 plate appearances, has felt tightness trying to even jog.
  • Double-A Tulsa righty pitcher (and converted outfielder) Blake Smith was traded by the Dodgers to the White Sox for right-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp. Both are 27 years old. In 53 2/3 career MLB innings, Surkamp has a 6.20 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 98 baserunners. For Triple-A Charlotte this year, Surkamp has a 2.81 ERA with 30 strikeouts against 28 baserunners in 25 2/3 innings.
  • Carlos Frias’ ongoing adjustments are the subject of Daniel Brim’s piece on Carlos Frias today at Dodgers Digest.
  • The Dodgers’ offensive scoreless-inning streak ended at a record-tying 35 innings with Andre Ethier’s RBI double in the fifth, though they didn’t score an earned run until Joc Pederson’s game-winning homer three innings later.
  • Chris Hatcher, who threw 1/105th of the pitches that Zack Greinke threw, was credited with his first career Dodger victory.
  • Kenley Jansen struck out two in his perfect ninth inning. His K/9 dropped to 21.0.
  • Pederson has struck out four times in his past 39 plate appearances (10.3 percent). Prior to that in 2015, he had struck out 43 times in 127 plate appearances (33.9 percent).

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Storytime theater ends happily for Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

Opening Day at Dodger Stadium usually makes for a good story. But it’s hard to remember one when there was so much story.

Game 1 of 162 wasn’t merely a contest between the two top contenders in the National League West, it was a full-throated battle for narrative.

Matt Kemp took the early lead in the bid for headlines, Clayton Kershaw threatened to sneak his way back in, and Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and the Padres’ defense all had their moments in the sun (literally and figuratively). For good measure, you had Hanley Ramirez threatening to show up the Dodgers, hitting two home runs out in a far-off time zone.

But standing large-font triumphant at the end of the day were Jimmy Rollins, the Dodger bullpen and ultimately, the Dodgers themselves.

Los Angeles did its fans the big favor of sending them home with a 6-3 victory over San Diego — and plenty of tales to tell.

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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: Anderson flushes his cares away

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

For more photos from Monday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Darwin Barney, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Justin Turner, 1B
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Corey Seager, SS
Kike Hernandez, CF
(Clayton Kershaw, P)

By Jon Weisman

Tweets of doom aside, Brett Anderson was as cool as the other side of the toilet Monday in his first Cactus League start for the Dodgers.

Anderson sailed through two shutout innings, needing only 23 pitches to navigate seven batters (five groundouts, a strikeout and a single).

There’s more about Anderson’s outing from Ken Gurnick of and Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A.

And in addition to those notes, there are these:

  • Howie Kendrick’s fifth-inning throwing error was the Dodgers’ second in seven games this spring, and ended their consecutive errorless streak at 45 innings.
  • Corey Seager, one of three Dodgers (with O’Koyea Dickson and Kyle Jensen) to play in six Cactus League games so far, is starting at shortstop today.
  • The Dodgers’ team leader in plate appearances so far is Scott Schebler with 13.
  • In this profile of Chris Hatcher by Dylan Hernandez of the Times, we learn more about Hatcher’s conversion from catcher to pitcher, and also the importance of him placing more faith in his breaking ball.
  • Cued up by Don Mattingly, J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News passes along a narrative involving umpire Ted Barrett and former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson.
  • Where did Spring Training really come from? Alex Skillin explores the origins at the Hardball Times, with one-time Brooklyn manager Ned Hanlon playing a role.

In case you missed it: Let’s blog two

Los Angeles Dodgers on reporting day for pitchers and catchers

For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

On the first official day of Spring Training, there’s enough material for two batches of ICYMI — thanks in part to the dual, shirt-dazzling presence of Andrew Friedman and Don Mattingly. Let the bullet points begin …

  • New Dodger starting pitcher Brett Anderson has tested his surgically repaired lower back through several bullpen sessions and so far, so good, reports’s Ken Gurnick, who adds that “Anderson said he might be on a slightly modified workload early in camp, but his goal is to train at the same pace as the other starting pitchers.”
  • Per Gurnick, “Hyun Jin-Ryu said on Thursday that he’s in better shape to throw than he was his first two springs with the Dodgers, having already thrown more bullpen sessions in an attempt to avoid the shoulder problems that plagued him last year.”
  • Clayton Kershaw juxtaposed his regular-season success with his postseason disappointment, reports Gurnick.
  • More on Kershaw comes from Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, including this note on fatherhood.

    … “I feel like I’m a decent dad at this point. It was tough to leave them, obviously, but Ellen’s a champ. She can handle it,” Kershaw said. “I’ve definitely changed some diapers and I’ve gotten up. I mean, there’s only so much you can do, but I’ve offered some moral support.” …

  • Saxon also quotes Friedman on the bullpen situation:

    … “Right now, the guys we’ve had some trade discussions about, the guys that are freely available, we’re going to continue to try to sift through it and figure out what actually makes sense as opposed to a reactionary move that may look good in the moment,” Friedman said. …

  • A.J. Ellis told J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News that he worked with a coach during the offseason on trying to improve his pitch framing, which he takes seriously.

    … “It’s definitely real,” Ellis said. “I think it’s something that people are giving a lot more credence to. People are looking at it. Catching is such a hard position to evaluate because there’s so many intangibles that you can’t put a measurement on.

    “People love lists, and this is one way you can see a list of rankings and make judgments on who belongs where. There’s no stat right now for a catcher’s value in calling a game.” …

  • This quote from Chris Hatcher is part of Eric Stephen’s notebook at True Blue L.A.:

    …”First and foremost, I just want to make the team. Second of all, just to be ready when they call my name,” Hatcher said. “They haven’t really expressed anything to me, and I’m not expecting [to close]. I’m just preparing to be ready to take the ball.”‘ …

  • Longtime Dodger fans remember Ron Cey’s incomparable single, “Third Base Bag.” Cey talks to Dan Epstein about it at Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside.

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