Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Red Patterson

In case you missed it: Organizational news and notes

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By Jon Weisman

There have been several bits of business that I’ve been meaning to get to, so I figured the best solution was to bring back the reliable “In case you missed it” feature from Spring Training to capture them all.

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In case you missed it: Infield candidates step up

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Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Andre Ethier, LF
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Charlie Culberson 3B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Charlie Culberson, Elian Herrera and Brandon Hicks, whose roles as reserves could increase over the next two weeks of Spring Training – if not Opening Day – while Corey Seager recovers from his strained left knee, each enjoyed spotlight moments Saturday for the twice-victorious Dodgers.

In a pair of topsy-turvy games Saturday, the Dodgers scored the winning runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Cubs and in the top of the 10th against the Mariners.

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Scott Van Slyke becomes third Dodger outfielder on DL

Scott Van Slyke has a .423 on-base percentage against lefties this season, but both his home runs have come against righties. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Scott Van Slyke has a .423 on-base percentage against lefties this season, but both his home runs have come against righties. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Chris Heisey, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Alex Guerrero, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Austin Barnes, C
Juan Nicasio, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke, who has been ailing with back inflammation, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, with Chris Heisey returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the roster.

Van Slyke has only played once in the past eight days. He has been in a 4-for-36 slide with two walks and no extra-base hits, dating back to May 13.

He joins Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford on the disabled list, though Puig continued to progress toward a return by taking live batting practice today in Colorado, according to Ken Gurnick of

This will be a fish-or-cut-bait stint for the Dodgers with Heisey, who will now have the five years’ service time to refuse a minor-league assignment.

Ian Thomas, one of the pitchers acquired from Atlanta, in the Juan Uribe/Chris Withrow trade, has also been called up from Oklahoma City as the 26th man permissible for today’s doubleheader.

Thomas, who would be the first Ian in Dodger history if he gets into a game, had a 0.00 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett this year, before giving up six runs in 2 1/3 innings during his only appearance with Oklahoma City.

For the Dodgers’ only doubleheader last year, the 26th man was Red Patterson, who started the second game at Minnesota and allowed one run on five baserunners in 4 2/3 innings. Patterson is currently rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery.

Dodgers bring back Scott Elbert

By Jon Weisman

Designated for assignment in late July, lefty reliever Scott Elbert has made his way back to the Dodgers, who selected his contract from Triple-A Albuquerque.

To make room for Elbert on the 40-man roster, pitcher Red Patterson was designated for assignment.

Since clearing waivers and accepting an assignment to the Isotopes in August, Elbert allowed seven runs, 14 hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings while striking out six, but that was skewed when he gave up five runs while getting one out at Las Vegas on August 8. From August 14 to the end of the season, Elbert pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts.

Looking to make his first big-league appearance since August 26, 2002, Elbert gives the Dodgers a second left-handed reliever while they await possible returns by Paco Rodriguez and Onelki Garcia, both of whom are already on the 40-man roster. Rodriguez threw a simulated game today.

In his previous two seasons with the Dodgers, Elbert had a 2.32 ERA from 2011-12 with 63 strikeouts in 66 innings against 54 hits and 27 walks.

Patterson pitched in one game for the Dodgers, going 4 2/3 innings in the second game of a May Day doubleheader victory at Minnesota and allowing one run. At Albuquerque, the 27-year-old had a 5.79 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 121 1/3 innings.

Update: Ken Gurnick of has more on Elbert and Rodriguez.

… “Paco was good,” said manager Don Mattingly. “The way he’s been throwing, bouncing back continues to be the concern. If he’s good after today, we’ll make a decision possible tomorrow.”

Elbert hasn’t pitched in a Major League game in two years. Since then, he has had three elbow operations, including Tommy John reconstruction.

“I’m pain free. I feel like a normal player,” said Elbert. “Obviously, my velocity is not where it once was. I’m able to compete. I’m around 90, 91 mph. If I’m 90 percent of what I was, it’s still pretty good.”

Elbert said the final hurdle in his rehab was trusting that everything was fixed. He thanked the Dodgers for being patient and said being taken off the roster was “a blessing in disguise,” because it allowed him to regain his form without a deadline. He said there were times he wondered if he’d ever get back. …

Dodgers’ use of minor-league starting pitchers has been at rare low

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By Jon Weisman

If the Dodgers are looking to replace Dan Haren in their starting rotation while having to also place Paul Maholm on the disabled list, following the rough events of the team’s 8-2 loss to the Cubs on Friday, it could mark the end to an unusual trait of this season’s starting pitching.

Each of the previous nine years under general manager Ned Colletti, the Dodgers have dipped into their minor-league pitching at least 10 starts and often many more. But through the first 110 games of 2014, only two games have been started by minor-league pitchers.

Starts by Dodger minor-league pitchers
2014: 2 (Stephen Fife, Red Patterson)
2013: 16 (Stephen Fife 10, Matt Magill 6)
2012: 15 (Nathan Eovaldi 10, Stephen Fife 5)
2011: 22 (Rubby De La Rosa 10, Nathan Eovaldi 6, Dana Eveland 5, John Ely 1)
2010: 19 (John Ely 18, James McDonald)
2009: 22 (Eric Stults 10, Eric Milton 5, James McDonald 4, Charlie Haeger 3)
2008: 30 (Clayton Kershaw 21, Eric Stults 7, Jason Johnson 2)
2007: 11 (Hung-Chih Kuo 6, Eric Stults 5)
2006: 23 (Chad Billingsley 16, Aaron Sele 5, Eric Stults 2)
(Note: This list doesn’t included midseason acquisitions, nor pitchers primarily moving between the Dodgers’  bullpen and their rotation.)

Every year has its own flavor. In 2006, for example, the Dodgers had more than one veteran pitcher (Brett Tomko, Mark Hendrickson, Jae Weong Seo) end up in the Maholm role, in the same year that Chad Billingsley ultimately came up and claimed a spot in the rotation, while Aaron Sele bought them a month. In 2008, the Dodgers had the arrival of 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw and the return of 42-year-old Greg Maddux in the same season. In 2010, John Ely was essentially the Dodgers’ only starter from the minors, but he held a spot in the rotation from late April into July, the same year that a Rule 5 pickup (Carlos Monasterios) took 13 starts and only after another pseudo-minor leaguer, Charlie Haeger, had gone awry.

In any case, that the Dodgers would get 108 out of their first 110 starts from six veteran pitchers who have been with the team all season has no recent precedent.

One other thing I would add is that because of the pro-hitting environment in the Pacific Coast League, the minor leaguers who have been used (whether veterans hanging on or rookies coming up) sometimes perform better with the Dodgers than they have in Triple-A.

  • Eric Stults in 2008: 3.82 ERA in AAA, 3.49 with Dodgers
  • Charlie Haeger in 2009: 3.55 in AAA, 3.32 with Dodgers
  • John Ely in 2010: 6.22 ERA in AAA, 5.49 with Dodgers (2.54 in first seven starts)
  • Stephen Fife in 2012: 4.66 ERA in AAA, 2.70 with Dodgers

The romance of a minor-leaguer seizing his moment in his first big-league trial is never far away.

Red Patterson (5.70 ERA), Zach Lee (5.22 ERA) and Carlos Frias (5.01 ERA) are the top three candidates from Albuquerque should the Dodgers look to call up a starting pitcher from there, with Chris Reed (3.32 ERA) the top name from Double-A Chattanooga — which in 2011 pushed Nathan Eovaldi and Rubby De La Rosa directly to the big leagues. (Chad Moriyama of Dodgers Digest has more on these options.)

Of course, if the Dodgers keep Haren in their rotation but Maholm still goes on the DL, then several more relief pitchers are on the table for a recall. And the passing of the non-waiver trading deadline doesn’t preclude the Dodgers from picking up a pitcher from outside the franchise, should they so choose.

Hyun-Jin Ryu goes on disabled list

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw might be close to a return to active duty, but an optimal starting rotation for the Dodgers will have to wait for another couple of weeks at least.

Hyun-Jun Ryu has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to April 28, with left shoulder inflammation as one of a series of roster moves today by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles is also sending reliever Paco Rodriguez and 26th man Red Patterson to Albuquerque, and recalling utility man Chone Figgins and reliever Jose Dominguez.

Ryu has pitched shutout ball in four of his seven starts this year, allowed two runs in another and was hit hard in this third start and his seventh, both day games in Los Angeles. Assuming they don’t want to start Zack Greinke on three days’ rest, the Dodgers will need to make another roster move to replace Ryu for Sunday’s start against Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Tentatively, Zack Greinke and Kershaw (if activated from the DL) are scheduled to pitch Monday and Tuesday in Washington.

Rodriguez allowed three runs and five baserunners in 1 1/3 innings in his two outings since returning from Albuquerque earlier this week, while Dominguez has been scored upon in three of his four MLB outings in 2014, allowing six runs in five innings. This will be the fourth separate stint with the Dodgers for Dominguez. After making the trip to Australia, he was optioned March 29, recalled April 2, optioned April 9, recalled April 21 and optioned April 27 before being recalled again today.

Patterson pitched 4 2/3 innings in Thursday’s nightcap, allowing one run while looking good in his middle three innings. Figgins has gone 7 for 25 with six walks for a .419 on-base percentage with the Isotopes.

May 1 pregame: Readying for Red

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Twins, 10:10 a.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, DH
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Miguel Olivo, C
Carl Crawford, LF
(Dan Haren, P)

By Jon Weisman

Though Dan Haren takes the mound at the top of the hour for Game 1 of today’s impromptu doubleheader, it’s hard not to look ahead to the nightcap, when Red Patterson will make his Major League debut.

It’s likely a cameo for Patterson, who comes via the 26th man rule. A 6-foot-3 righthander who turns 27 in May, Patterson followed up two strong back-to-back starts in mid-April by getting hit pretty hard in his most recent outing for Albuquerque, allowing five runs on 11 baserunners in 5 1/3 innings. For the year to date, he has 14 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings, though last year, he averaged more than a fan a frame.

Don Mattingly told reporters today that Patterson impressed the organization during Spring Training and that he’s a strike thrower, which is valuable against a patient team like the Twins.

Eric Stephen noted at True Blue L.A. that Patterson “will be the oldest non-Japanese Dodgers starting pitcher to make his major league debut since Larry Miller, who was 27 years, two days old on June 21, 1964, also in the second game of a doubleheader.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated outfielder Nick Buss for assignment. Buss, 27, had a .330 on-base percentage and .391 slugging for the Isotopes, after going .363/.525 last year. He went 2 for 19 for the Dodgers in 2013.

March 14 pregame: Kershaw’s careful curveball

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Dodgers vs. Cubs, 1:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
AJ Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Josh Beckett, RHP

By Jon Weisman

Above, my favorite play of Spring Training to date: Justin Turner to Red Patterson on the fly …

Below, news and links aplenty …

  • Clayton Kershaw didn’t throw a single curveball with a three-ball count in 2013 and has done so only once since 2010, writes Cory DiBenedetto in a short analysis for Gammons Daily. Kershaw also hasn’t allowed a home run on his curveball — on any count — in the past four seasons. (In case you’re wondering, the famous “Public Enemy No. 1” curve came on a 1-2 count.)
  • Sam Demel and Kershaw are the scheduled starters for Saturday’s split-squad games. Both games are at Camelback Ranch, though the night game against the White Sox is technically a road game. For Kershaw, it will be his last game action before the regular season begins March 22 in Australia.
  • ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which “attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years,” place the Dodgers third among MLB teams, behind Boston and St. Louis. A year ago, ESPN had the Dodgers eighth, which at the time struck me as too low given the team’s burgeoning resources.
  • Related: The Dodgers have the best “core five” in the game, according to David Schoenfield of ESPN.

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers
    Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez

    This group could be even better than it was in 2013 with full seasons from Ramirez and Puig. Greinke was so dominant over his final 16 starts (1.57 ERA) that he’s a reasonable Cy Young candidate behind his best-starter-in-baseball teammate. The fifth player on the list could be Gonzalez or Matt Kemp or even third starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.

  • Manny Mota, who has graciously passed his No. 11 jersey to Erisbel Arruebarrena, remembers Roberto Clemente in this interview with Lyle Spencer of
  • Stan Conte spoke in some detail about injury prevention and predicting injuries at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Analytics Conference on Thursday. J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News has details, and Christina Kahrl of has more as well.
  • Don Mattingly is back in camp today after two days away on bereavement leave.
  • Yasiel Puig went 4 for 10 in intrasquad play Thursday — he starts in right field today.
  • Scheduled to follow Josh Beckett, who is testing a sprained right thumb, on the mound today are Jose Dominguez, Paco Rodriguez, Javy Guerra, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright.
  • Red Patterson pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings for the Dodgers on Thursday, but Seth Rosin finally gave up his first earned run. If you’re keeping track, Patterson has a 0.93 ERA this spring, while Rosin is at 1.64.
  • Rosin still leads the staff in strikeouts (12) and is tied with Hyun-Jin Ryu for the most innings (11).
  • Brandon League talked about his spring to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. Stephen also gets Mattingly’s thoughts on League’s progress.
  • Brett Tomko, 41 next month and seven seasons removed from his Dodger days, is going to Kansas City on a minor-league deal, a week after the Royals parted ways with a Dodger teammate of Tomko’s, Brad Penny.
  • Tim Newcomb of presents a vision of the ballpark of the future. Pretty pictures.
  • Thursday in Jon SooHoo.

March 11 pregame: A Sandy Koufax-Roger Maris trade?

Oakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers vs. Royals, 1:05 p.m.
Chone Figgins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Justin Turner, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Sydney …

  • The Dodger press notes helpfully point out that the team record for Spring Training ties is five, achieved in 2006.
  • Scheduled to follow Dan Haren on the mound today are Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright.
  • Red Patterson was reassigned to minor-league camp today.
  • Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier will rest today, then be scheduled to play the next five days in a row before the team leaves for Australia, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times.
  • Maury Wills, 27 when he became a Dodger regular, talked to Kevin Baxter of the Times about 25-year-old Dee Gordon.
  • Mark Saxon has a couple of pieces at ESPN Los Angeles looking ahead to Australia, including this interview with Australian former Dodger infielder Craig Shipley.
  • Sandy Koufax gets the Union Oil 1961 Family Booklet treatment (via Blue Heaven), with this tidbit: “Allegations persist that the Dodgers twice declined to swap Koufax to Kansas City for Roger Maris.” Maris was the American League MVP in 1960, remember, while Koufax was 8-13 with a 3.91 ERA.


March 5 pregame: Inside-the-park homerless runs

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Dodgers vs. Reds, 6:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, CF
Carl Crawford, DH
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, LF
Alex Guerrero, 2B
Tim Federowicz, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
(Hyun-Jin Ryu, P)

By Jon Weisman

I keep risking a jinx, but 60 innings into the exhibition season, the Dodgers haven’t allowed a home run. They’re the only team that hasn’t been taken yard in 2014.

The shot that Joc Pederson flagged down in the video above wouldn’t have been a home run, but it’s about as far as anyone has hit one against Los Angeles so far. Let’s see what happens in the Dodgers’ first night game.

  • Scheduled to follow Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound today are Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Matt Magill, Paco Rodriguez and Carlos Frias.
  • Ross Stripling had to have arthroscopic surgery today before he can have his Tommy John surgery on a future date. Ken Gurnick has details at
  • Zack Greinke threw off a mound today for the first time since injuring his calf February 27, Gurnick reports.
  • And to complete a Gurnick hat trick, a nice feature providing some welcome background on Dodger pitching prospect Red Patterson. Check it out.
  • Spring Training stats: All-glove, no-hit Miguel Rojas is batting .444 and fielding .895.
  • Former Dodger Trent Oeltjen will play for Team Australia in the March 20 exhibition against the Dodgers in Sydney, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale are pictured during their 1966 holdout with David Janssen on the set of the movie “Warning Shot” in a post by Scott Harrison at Framework.
  • Peter Gammons has a long piece on the 2014 Dodgers at Gammons Daily.
  • Eric Gagne is managing the Team France baseball team that began a five-game Cactus League tour with an exhibition game today against Dodger minor leaguers.
  • Today in 1961 primary source material on the Dodgers at Ernest Reyes’ Blue Heaven: Gil Hodges.

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