Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Paul Maholm

Dodgers place Chris Perez on disabled list, bring up Carlos Frias

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Angels at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Righty reliever Chris Perez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Dodgers, who have called up Carlos Frias from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Frias is a starting pitcher for the Isotopes who at a minimum would seem in position to take the long relief role of Paul Maholm, who today was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day. The 6-foot-4 24-year-old is in line to make his MLB debut.

Frias had a 3.05 ERA and 1.31 WHIP for Albuquerque in June but finished July with a 6.05 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.

The Dodger bullpen has thrown 163 pitches in its past two games, though it will hopefully get a lighter load with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw pitching the next two nights.

Uphill battles continue for Dodgers


By Jon Weisman

Another deficit, another comeback attempt thwarted by a close play — in this case, A.J. Ellis removed by an inch at home plate from becoming the Dodgers’ third run in what ended up Saturday’s 7-2 loss to San Francisco (recapped by Ken Gurnick of

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In the past two games, Don Mattingly has used 10 relievers, who have combined to allow only two runs over 11 2/3 innings while striking out 14. But the Dodgers have been victimized by big innings — six runs in the first on Friday, four in the fifth on Saturday.

Paul Maholm was hanging with Madison Bumgarner until he faced Pablo Sandoval with two runners on in that fifth inning. With Jose Dominguez warming up in the bullpen, Maholm gave up a three-run home run. As if to illustrate the rock and hard place Mattingly arguably found himself between, Dominguez then entered the game and immediately gave up a home run to Buster Posey.

Maholm told Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. that the pitch to Sandoval was “a cutter that didn’t cut.”

Yasiel Puig didn’t come out for a relief outfielder, even though he injured his thumb on a head-first slide to first base. Still, the injury was enough for the Dodgers to have it X-rayed. There was no immediate word that Puig would have to miss a start, though he could obviously be the fourth outfielder tonight for the Dodgers when Zack Greinke challenges Matt Cain in a fine Sunday Night Baseball matchup.

Later, Brian Wilson was back on a mound, throwing a perfect inning with one strikeout for Rancho Cucamonga.

* * *

Jon SooHoo’s Saturday photos can be found at the LA Photog Blog.

In case you missed it: Josh Beckett on the rise

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Though the Dodgers ended up in a 3-3 tie at Camelback Ranch with the Padres, there was a clear winner today: Josh Beckett.

Read More

In case you missed it: 30 Dodger players traveling to Australia

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Take heed: With this year’s trip to Australia, the Dodgers’ process for determining the regular season active roster is even more unusual than you might imagine, according to Ken Gurnick of

First, there’s this rather stunning comparison.

“The Dodgers will have only 19 days of Spring Training games to make nearly all of their decisions,” Gurnick writes. “Last spring, they played 36 games before Opening Day.”

But further confusing matters is that the Dodgers’ don’t actually have to settle where everyone beyond the 25-man roster has to go before Sydney.

… Even though the 25-man roster officially doesn’t need to be submitted until March 21 at 1 p.m. PT, the Dodgers and D-backs will break camp on March 16 and take a maximum of 30 players to Australia from which to draw their 25-man Opening Day rosters.

Players on the disabled list can be back-dated to March 19, but those decisions might be made before the flight west, if not announced.

From the 30 players who can make the flight across the Pacific Ocean, three will be designated as “exempt” before Opening Day and would otherwise be active, be they starting pitchers left behind, players out of options (like Javy Guerra or Drew Butera) or Rule 5 selections (like Seth Rosin). Corresponding moves would need to be made to make room for their activation.

The other two players on the trip will be “extras” that can be players on the 40-man roster with options, or Minor Leaguers.

From these five additional players, clubs must be covered by position for an injury, whether it occurs as a result of the exhibition game against Team Australia, or the regular-season opener, because it will be impossible to call up a player and transport him to Australia in time for the next game. So, the five spots are likely to include at least one catcher, one middle infielder, one outfielder and one reliever. …

Read more about it here. Elsewhere around the Dodgers …

  • Andre Ethier echoed Matt Kemp’s sentiments about no potential starting outfielder seeking out a spot on the bench. Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles adds context.

    … Ethier moved from right to center when Kemp got hurt last year, but before that he was entrenched in right field the previous four seasons. He said he’s willing to give the utility role a go if it helps the team.

    “I’ve done a lot personally and done a lot with this team and I think we’re still just missing one thing, [a World Series], so if it’s something that leads to that, let’s figure out a way to get it done,” Ethier said. …

  • Saxon quotes Don Mattingly on Yasiel Puig weighing in at about 25 pounds more than last year: “We don’t feel it’s going to be a problem, but we’re paying attention to it, put it that way,” Mattingly said.
  • There’s no urgency for Paul Maholm to be ready to pitch regular-season games before April, and given that he’s behind the other starters, as Gurnick notes, he could use the extra time.
  • Miguel Rojas’ wife flew out of strife-heavy Venezuela this morning, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
  • Today’s guest star in Ernest Reyes’ series on the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven: Willie Davis.

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.

In case you missed it: Scott Elbert coming back from appendectomy

By Jon Weisman

Excuse Scott Elbert if he thinks the knives are out for him …

  • Elbert had an appendectomy January 28, putting a pause in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to resume throwing this week, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. Ken Gurnick of has more. Elbert was placed on the 60-day disabled list Saturday after Paul Maholm was signed but still hopes for a midseason return.
  • The Dodgers got “great value” in Maholm, compared with other recent free-agent signings, writes Justin Millar of MLB Daily Dish.
  • Sons of Steve Garvey passes along screen captures of Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett from the 1961 movie “Bachelor in Paradise.” A year ago, Emma Amaya of Crazy Blue World catalogued several Scully film appearances.
  • World Series hero Kirk Gibson thought he was destined for the NFL while he was at Michigan State, writes Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic  (via Baseball Think Factory).

    “I would’ve been a top-five pick,” said Gibson, an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State. “I was big, fast and I caught everything.”

How does Paul Maholm’s arrival affect the Dodger roster?

By Jon Weisman

We don’t know what Dodger newcomer Paul Maholm’s role with the team will be after signing Saturday or whose roster spot he might take, mainly because the Dodgers don’t know yet themselves.

“Paul is aware we’re not sure what our need will be, whether it will be as a starting pitcher, a reliever or a long man,” general manager Ned Colletti told Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. “Paul said it doesn’t matter, just to let him know and he’ll prepare for whatever we need him to do.”

Dylan Hernandez of the Times added the following:

… Maholm noted that he pitched in relief only once in his previous nine seasons and made clear he intends to win a place in the rotation.

“I’m going to come in and compete,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then things will work out.” …

In the meantime, we can mull over the possibilities.

Maholm could be a starting pitcher, if anyone from the group consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett falters. Beckett, recovering from July surgery that removed a rib to address thoracic outlet syndrome, is the one who seems most vulnerable, but it’s hardly time to give up on him being with the team for the season opener March 22.

Should Maholm start the season in the bullpen – a distinct possibility whether he’s the fifth starter or a starter-in-reserve, given that the Dodgers don’t play five regular-season games on consecutive days until April 15-19 – he joins a group that was already overflowing. Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Paco Rodriguez, J.P Howell, Brandon League, Chris Withrow, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright already give the Dodgers more than enough legitimate contenders for a relief corps that typically would max out at seven. (That doesn’t even begin to address names not limited to Stephen Fife, Seth Rosin, Javy Guerra and Jose Dominguez.)

In a sense, you figure that the Dodgers are counting on at least one of the pitchers we’ve mentioned to be injured come Opening Day, and based on past history, who can blame them? If the Dodgers get their pre-flight notification for Sydney with more than a dozen healthy major-league pitchers, it’s a problem they’ll be happy to deal with.

A less obvious question: Would an arms surplus affect the composition of the Dodger bench? Standing in contrast to a pitching staff brimming with guaranteed contracts is a group of reserves whose MLB futures aren’t as set in stone.

Let’s say, hypothetically, Matt Kemp doesn’t make the trip to Australia, as has been frequently speculated, but Alex Guerrero does start at second base. You’d have a backup catcher such as Tim Federowicz, a good chance of outfielder/first baseman Scott Van Slyke, two or three names from the assortment of middle-infield candidates (including Dee Gordon, Chone Figgins, Justins Sellers and Turner, Miguel Rojas and Brendan Harris), maybe a Mike Baxter or Nick Buss.

Especially if they try to limit the starting pitcher workloads in light of the early launch to the 2014 season, would the Dodgers choose a 13th healthy pitcher over a 13th position player to complete the first group of 25? I’m not advocating it or counting on it, just saying that stranger things have happened. And then, of course, things can and will change again in a moment thereafter.

Dodgers sign Paul Maholm

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On the same day we received a nice progress report on Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers have added to their starting pitching depth with the signing of 31-year-old lefty Paul Maholm.

Maholm has pitched eight seasons plus the six starts he made in late 2005, with his best season coming in 2012, when he had a 3.67 ERA (111 ERA+) and 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 189 innings split between the Pirates and Cubs.

Last year with the Braves, Maholm had a 4.41 ERA (88 ERA+) and a 6.2 K/9. He had the biggest home-road differential in MLB last year: 2.37 ERA in Atlanta, 5.91 ERA elsewhere.

Where have you heard Maholm’s name recently? Remember when Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee and Atlanta’s Brian McCann got into it in late September? Maholm was on the mound when that started.

Scott Elbert, also recovering from surgery, was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Maholm on the active roster.

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