Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Miguel Olivo

In case you missed it: Into the offseason

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By Jon Weisman

Above, a highlight package of the Dodgers’ 2014 season. Below, some odds and ends for the first offseason Thursday …

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It’s a bright, bright Chone Chiny day


Dodgers at Mets, 4:10 p.m.
Chone Figgins, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

There was some scoffing when Chone Figgins signed on to reboot his Major League career with the Dodgers, but so far, so good.

Figgins has developed a fairly specific role with the Dodgers: Come off the bench to lead off an inning and, without any seeming threat of power, get on base.

In his 27 plate appearances so far this season, 16 of them have been as the first batter of an inning, and he has a .500 on-base percentage (and .455 slugging percentage) in those situations. He also has a .474 OBP as a pinch-hitter.

Tonight, in the Dodgers’ 48th game, Figgins makes only his third start of the year, though his rate should increase now that Juan Uribe is on the disabled list and Justin Turner will be needed over there. Dee Gordon still hasn’t been a convincing hitter against left-handed pitchers, registering a .200 on-base percentage (8 for 40 with no walks) and .250 slugging percentage this year. It would be going too far to say he can’t improve those numbers, but against Mets lefty Jonathon Niese (2.54 ERA, .446 right-handed opponents’ OPS), it’s a sensible enough time to let Gordon come off the bench.

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Miguel Olivo placed on suspended list

From the Dodgers:

Today, the Albuquerque Isotopes, Triple-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, placed catcher Miguel Olivo on the suspended list.  Olivo, who is on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, will remain suspended pending the completion of an investigation into the dugout altercation during yesterday’s game at Salt Lake.

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers win one but lose two

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By Jon Weisman

Led by four times on base apiece by Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonalez, the Dodgers survived two sixth-inning home runs by the Mets to win going away in New York tonight, 9-4. But it was a costly day.

First was the news of the altercation between Miguel Olivo and Alex Guerrero during their Triple-A game today, a fight that left Guerrero in surgery to repair his ear, according to Ken Gurnick of

Then came Juan Uribe’s ninth-inning re-injury of his hamstring while running out a double.

It’s a painful turn of events for several reasons, only one of them being that Guerrero was on fire with Albuquerque, leading the Pacific Coast League with a 1.152 OPS, and was beginning to be tested out at other positions besides second base.

A.J. Ellis activated, Miguel Olivo headed for Albuquerque

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Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Paul Maholm, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have officially activated A.J. Ellis from the disabled list and optioned Miguel Olivo to Albuquerque. Ellis is in tonight’s starting lineup for the Dodgers.

Ellis’ return comes five weeks and four days after he last played a Major League game. He went 2 for 5 with a homer, two RBI and a walk in two rehab games this week for the Isotopes.

Olivo has appeared in eight games for the Dodgers, going 5 for 23 with a .240 on-base percentage and .304 slugging percentage. After starting out 5 for 10 with a triple and a walk, Olivo was hitless in his past 13 plate appearances with nine strikeouts.

April 30 pregame: Splash mountin’

Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers
Whatever the weather, someone’s getting wet. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at Twins, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, DH
Juan Uribe, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Carl Crawford, LF
(Zack Greinke, P)

By Jon Weisman

Two changes come to the active roster in time for today’s game against Minnesota. Lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez and catcher Miguel Olivo have come up from Albuquerque, while infielder Carlos Triunfel and catcher Tim Federowicz make the journey to Triple A.

Among players who have primarily been catchers in their careers, Olivo ranks 32nd all-time with 145 home runs. Ahead of him are eight former Dodgers: Mike Piazza (1), Gary Carter (6), Roy Campanella (10), Todd Hundley (13), Ernie Lombardi (17), Ramon Hernandez (23), Charles Johnson (24) and Mike Lieberthal (31).

Chad Billingsley, meanwhile, has been moved to the 60-day disabled list, which would still allow him to be activated in May. Billingsley, who made a rehab start April 6, received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday for elbow tendinitis last week.

The Dodgers can also add a 26th man to the roster for Thursday’s doubleheader, based on a Collective Bargaining Agreement rule that allows clubs a 26-man roster for day-night doubleheaders if scheduled at least 48 hours in advance.

More roster changes could be coming in the next few days, based on a) what happens with Clayton Kershaw’s rehab start with Double-A Chattanooga tonight and b) the potential need for a starting pitcher Sunday, so that Zack Greinke doesn’t have to come back on three days’ rest.

In other news and notes:

  • The Dodgers can expect to face a lefty in Minnesota after all. For their 26th man on Thursday, the Twins have called up Kris Johnson (not the former UCLA hoopster) to make his first Major League start.  Johnson pitched 10 1/3 innings in relief for the Pirates last year with a 6.10 ERA but 2.76 FIP. He has a 2.86 in 22 minor-league innings this year, with 20 strikeouts against 26 baserunners.
  • Carl Crawford makes his first start in the No. 9 slot of the batting order since September 20, 2003.
  • Adrian Gonzalez has been the top first baseman in the Majors in April, according to Jay Jaffe of Dee Gordon was honorably mentioned at second base.
  • Greinke’s performance to date is analyzed by Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest.
  • Maury Wills is featured in the final posting from the great series of Union Oil 1961 Family Booklets, presented by Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven.
  • From the Dodger press notes: “The Dodgers will fly more than 6,200 miles during this trip as they touch points to the extreme north, south, east and west of the continental United States.”

March 16 pregame: From farewell to g’day

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox

Rockies vs. Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Andre Ethier, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Dee Gordon, 2B
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Today brings the Dodgers’ long day’s journey into night: a Camelback Ranch finale followed by a flight to Australia.

The lineup to the right might well be the Dodgers’ intended starting lineup for the regular season, as much as there can be one given health issues and how often Don Mattingly will factor in matchups.

Meanwhile, the team hasn’t made an official announcement yet about its Australia travel roster, though the pieces have nearly fallen into place, factoring in the news that Carl Crawford won’t travel as he waits for his child to be born.

Remember the unique rules: The Dodgers can take 30 players to Australia, not including three exempt players who will stay behind but remain eligible for the team’s domestic opener March 30 at San Diego. Five of the 30 only travel as potential injury replacements and otherwise wouldn’t be on the active roster for official games.

Here is a potential — though again, not official — list, with the backup five in italics:

  • Starting pitchers (4): Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Maholm, Zach Lee or Red Patterson
  • Relief pitchers (10): Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, Chris Perez, Jamey Wright, Paco Rodriguez, Seth Rosin, Chris Withrow, Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra
  • Catchers (3): A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz, Drew Butera
  • Infielders (7): Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, Miguel Rojas
  • Outfielders (6): Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Mike Baxter, Joc Pederson, Nick Buss
  • Exempt (3): Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Brandon League
  • Disabled list (4): Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert, Matt Kemp
  • Paternity leave (1): Carl Crawford

Links and other notes:

  • However meaningless it was, it’s clear that Clayton Kershaw was fairly frustrated by his Spring Training performance, which ended in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the White Sox. He talked to Tyler Emerick of about it.
  • Arizona pitcher Patrick Corbin, whom the Dodgers were scheduled to face Opening Day in Sydney, has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament and won’t make the trip while he seeks a second opinion on his condition, writes John Schlegel of
  • The Dodgers might be facing a decision on Miguel Olivo, reports Emerick, who says Olivo has asked for his release rather than accept a minor-league assignment.
  • Matt Kemp went 1 for 2 in a minor-league game Saturday, playing three innings in center field.
  • Jose Dominguez, Jamey Wright and Paco Rodriguez have now pitched on consecutive days. Dominguez pitched eight innings in the Cactus League without allowing a run, allowing five baserunners while striking out nine.
  • Kenley Jansen is scheduled to go back-to-back today after extending his own scoreless streak by an inning Saturday.
  • Sam Demel completed his Arizona run with 7 1/3 scoreless innings.
  • Dee Gordon had his fourth Spring Training triple in 39 at-bats Saturday, to go with a perfect record in nine steals. Gordon’s exhibition OBP is .326.
  • The Dodgers’ top OBPs this spring have come from infield candidates Miguel Rojas (.500) and Justin Turner (.432).
  • Craig Minami of True Blue L.A. interviewed several potential Dodger reserves about how they are taking to their roles off the bench.

In case you missed it: Happy photo day

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Who are those guys again?

  • Paul Maholm has been slowed for precautionary reasons by some elbow tenderness. He threw on flat ground today.

    … “I’m just being smart and understand what’s needed to prepare for the season,” Maholm told Ken Gurnick of “I only really missed one bullpen session today and I expect to throw a bullpen Saturday, and it won’t set me back.” …

  • Yasiel Puig was held out of action today after fouling a ball off his right leg yesterday. According to the Dodger press notes, Puig will not undergo any further testing at this time and is expected to be a full participant in tomorrow’s workout.

    … “There was a little swelling and we don’t see the need to have him limp around out there,” Don Mattingly told Gurnick. “We feel he’ll be back tomorrow.” …

  • Gurnick added that Zach Lee returned to the mound for a short bullpen session for the first time in 10 days after suffering a mild lat strain.
  • “Tim Federowicz was limited in workouts Tuesday after feeling tightness in his side during blocking drills,” writes Bill Plunkett of the Register in a notebook item. “He was back to full participation Wednesday.”
  • The Dodgers will play intrasquad games Sunday (with pitchers Matt Magill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Perez, Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell) and Monday (Stephen Fife, Dan Haren, Chris Reed, Paco Rodriguez and Jamey Wright) on the back fields of Camelback Ranch.
  • Miguel Rojas spoke to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles about his anxiety over political violence in his home of Venezuela. “Rojas’ wife lives 35 minutes from Caracas, the nation’s capital and the center of unrest,” Saxon writes. “Rojas said she scarcely leaves the house these days.” J.P. Hoornstra has more at the Daily News.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers workoutBrandon League talked about his 2013 season with Dylan Hernandez of the Times.

    … “It was not just one thing,” he said. “It was not just mechanical. It wasn’t just preparation. It was one thing one time, something else another time.” …

  • “Meanwhile, reliever Jose Dominguez tried out a new slider grip suggested by legendary lefty Sandy Koufax and reported improved downward break on the pitch,” reports Gurnick for
  • Non-roster catcher Miguel Olivo, looking for a career rebirth, is the subject of this Saxon piece for ESPN Los Angeles. The 35-year-old has 145 career home runs. Random note: Only two catchers have hit that many for the Dodgers, Roy Campanella and Mike Piazza. In fact, since making his MLB debut in 2002, Olivo has nearly outhomered everyone who has played catcher for the Dodgers in that time:
    • Russell Martin 53
    • A.J. Ellis 25
    • Paul Lo Duca 25
    • Rod Barajas 21
    • Dioner Navarro 10
    • Jason Phillips 7
    • Tim Federowicz 4
    • Ramon Hernandez 2
    • Chad Kreuter 2
    • Matt Treanor 2
    • Danny Ardoin 1
    • Brad Ausmus 1
    • Gary Bennett 1
    • Mike Rose 1
    • Total 155
  • Baseball America has released its top 100 prospects list. The Dodgers’ usual suspects are there: Joc Pederson (34), Corey Seager (37), Julio Urias (51 and the youngest player in the 100) and Zach Lee (95). Dustin Nosler sums up the spectrum of propsect lists at Dodgers Digest.
  • The Dodgers rank second behind St. Louis in Jonah Keri’s “Offseason Stock Report” for Grantland.
  • David Schoenfield of explains why he thinks the Dodgers are the biggest lock of any team to win their division.
  • Eastern Park, where the Brooklyn baseball team played from 1891-97, is the subject of this piece by Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven.

    … Eastern Park is said to be the birthplace of the famous Dodger name.  It is believed that this is the stadium where the nickname “Trolley Dodgers” came about.  The trolley and rail lines, that were located directly to the east of the stadium, were a constant hazard to fans attending games.  Frankly, this last item was a surprise to me as I began my research on this stadium.  I had always thought that Ebbets Field was were it originated, but that appears to not be the case. …

  • Former Dodger pitcher Chris Capuano has reportedly agreed to terms on a deal with the Boston Red Sox. With more is Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.

Miguel Olivo, Griff Erickson join non-roster invitees to Spring Training

Los Angeles Dodgers Winter Development Program
By Jon Weisman

Adding to the organizational depth at catcher heading into February, the Dodgers have signed free agent backstops Miguel Olivo and Griff Erickson to minor league contracts with invites to big league camp at Spring Training this year.

Erickson, who has spent his entire pro career in the Dodger organization, became a free agent by virtue of spending seven years in the the minors. He had a .324 on-base percentage and .414 slugging with Double-A Chattanooga in 2013 (including the interesting combo of 36 hits and 31 walks). In his best year, Erickson, who turns 26 in March, had an .866 OPS in 2011, split between Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Chattanooga.

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Olivo, 35, spent 2013 with his sixth major-league team, Miami, posting a .250 OBP and .392 slugging in 80 plate appearances, slightly below his career numbers of .275 and .417 in nearly 4,000 plate appearances.

The Dodgers also invited minor-league pitchers Zach Lee, Chris Reed, Ross Stripling, Red Patterson and Carlos Frias to spring camp, as well as outfielder Joc Pederson, infielder Miguel Rojas and catcher Chris O’Brien. They join those previously announced: catcher J.C. Boscan, infielders Brendan Harris and Clint Robinson and pitchers Sam Demel and Daniel Moskos.

Eyes on the ayes: Twelve votes would put Garvey, John in Hall

Maybe the Dodgers will retire a number this year after all …

  • Steve Garvey and Tommy John are among a group of 12 eligible for the Hall of Fame if they can earn 12 out of 16 votes from a special committee, according to Inside the Dodgers.

    … The 12 individuals who will be considered by the Expansion Era Committee in December for Hall of Fame Induction in 2011: Former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner. Martin and Steinbrenner are deceased; all other candidates are living.

    The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot features: Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; major league executives Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Orioles) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired, Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated). …

    I’m skeptical that Garvey gets (or should get) the support he needs, though certainly it’s as good a look at the Hall as he’s ever had. Personally, I think Miller is most deserving.  The results announcement will come Dec. 6

  • Jared Massey of LADodgerTalk did some research and thinks that an abrupt change to Jonathan Broxton’s slider caused his 2010 downfall.
  • Stadium Review offers a mixed review of Dodger Stadium, though correspondent Drew Cieszynski did say the fans were loud. You might quibble with some points, but overall it’s a pretty fair assessment.
  • Paul DePodesta is moving from San Diego to the New York Mets as their vice-president of player development and amateur scouting, once again working for Sandy Alderson, the new Mets general manager. I’m always nervous about posting DePodesta news for fear that it will reignite a tired debate, but I didn’t want to ignore it.  Congrats to Paul.
  • End of an era: Next year, for the first time in more than two decades, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan will not be doing Sunday Night Baseball telecasts for ESPN, though Miller might stick around to do radio. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times believes that next year’s booth might be Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.
  • Rob Neyer of made note of the Toronto Blue Jays trading a player to be named later for Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo, whose option they bought out for $500,000. For that price (and an offer of salary arbitration they expect to be denied), the Blue Jays expect to pick up a supplemental first-round draft pick.
  • Matt Bush, known for years as the disastrous No. 1 overall choice of the 2004 draft (by San Diego), has been making a comeback, having converted from shortstop to pitcher. Tampa Bay has added Bush to its 40-man roster, notes David Brown of Big League Stew, after he did his best Kenley Jansen imitation, striking out 20 in 13 2/3 innings over 10 minor-league games this season.

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