Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers made several roster moves today to set their 25-man roster as the season begins tomorrow. They placed Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list and moved Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to the bullpen. Hanley Ramirez and Scott Elbert are also on the DL. Billingsley’s placement on the list was backdated to March 22, so he’s eligible to come off no later than April 13. As Gurnick says, that means they’ll have to make another personnel decison on that date.
It looks as though Justin Sellers will start at shortstop for the start of the season, meaning Luis Cruz will likely be the starting third baseman. The two of them may rotate with Punto and Uribe (Yes, Uribe is still on the major league roster. The only reason I can think of is that he’s under contract and the team sees enough value in him not to release him outright and eat the last year of his deal).
Pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Matt Guerrier, Capuano, Harang
Catchers — A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz
Infielders — Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Sellers, Cruz, Juan Uribe, Nick Punto
Outfielders — Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston
That thumb that Ramirez injured in the WBC requires surgery to repair the ligament which stabilizes the thumb. The digit will be immobilized for three weeks before he can start using it again. I remember this. I broke a ring finger when I was about ten and wore a boxing glove-like soft cast to keep it from moving around. All summer. In Palos Verdes.
Anyway, it looks like Luis Cruz will play short, unless the Dodgers suck it up and play Dee Gordon there. That would leave Cruz at third. Otherwise they could platoon Uribe, Hairston and Punto at Cruz’s former spot at the hot corner.
Those guys strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers, I’m sure.
Update: In other personnel news, Guerra and Gwynn have been cut and sent to Albuquerque, as were Tolleson and Justin Sellers. They also cut Dallas McPherson, Ramon Castro, and Nick Evans.
I just realized it. The game started 45 minutes ago, and the D-Backs lead 3 – 0 in the third. Josh Wall started, went two innings and was relieved by Peter Moylan. Crawford is hitting leadoff and singled in the third.
In personnel news, the team reassigned Tony Gwynn and Wilkin Castillo to Albuquerque and released Ramon Castro.
Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley both were relieved of their starting assignments today and tomorrow respectively, Beckett with the flu and Billingsley with a bruised right index finger. Greinke is set to start on Wednesday.
Update: Chad Moriyama has injury updates on Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Billingsley, Crawford, Beckett, Withrow and Gordon. The most serious of these may be Ramirez’s thumb, which he jammed playing in the title game of the WBC yesterday. He dove for a ground ball while playing third. He stayed in for another at-bat and even got a hit, but he came out after that. He’ll have an MRI today at Camelback Ranch.
An injection of platelet-rich plasma was the preferred treatment.
Greinke missed a bullpen session 10 days ago because of discomfort in the back of the elbow, missed a start five days ago because of the flu, then threw an impressive bullpen session Friday without issues.
But the discomfort in the back of his elbow returned when he played catch Sunday. The club said the decision to send Greinke for an exam was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
He returned to LA and was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who diagnosed inflammation but no structural problems.
Hyun-Jin Ryu took his place in the lineup today and gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking two. The Dodgers lost to the Brewers 3 – 2. Yasiel Puig continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 2 to get his average up to .452 for the spring (14 for 31)
Old friend Russell Martin pulled out of the World Baseball Classic when Team Canada decided he’d catch rather than play shortstop as he preferred.
Say what? Martin hasn’t played shortstop since 2002, his first pro season in the minors, and that was just one game.
This hasn’t endeared him to Canadian fans, nor has it done him any favors with Justin Morneau of the Twins, who’s playing for Team Canada.
But the desire to play a new position is kind of what has everybody wondering what the decision-making process was behind that. When we get there, we’ll be there with everybody who wants to be there and with somebody who’s capable of playing shortstop.”
You know, as badly as Martin’s skills have fallen off and as weird as this reasoning is, I think it’s just as well we let him go to the Yankees a couple of years ago.
Update: Another old friend, Rafael Furcal, is going to have Tommy John surgery and will be out for the season.
That’s a shame. When he was healthy Raffy was a great shortstop for the Dodgers.
Update: Tonight’s (March 8) game is available via webcast. Capuano is on the mound to start.
Update: Video of Kershaw’s two-hit one-run outing today in Scottsdale, which the Dodgers won 6 – 1. Juan Uribe (!) had a three-run home run.
In an ongoing series, Mark Saxon grades the Dodgers’ outfield this past season and looks ahead to what it might be next season, with a healthy Kemp, a recovered Crawford and a steady Ethier.
After that he does the same thing for the pitching rotation. Beyond Kershaw, forecasting who makes it up is the interesting question there, since we don’t yet know whether Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery. The latest news about that is from October 3, when Trainer Sue Falsone said “Billingsley can avoid Tommy John surgery if he stays pain-free, but ‘if he hits any road bumps he’s probably going to have to have surgery.'” A week ago he was playing catch two of every three days and reporting no pain, but that could change.
Then there’s Lilly. We won’t know till spring training whether his shoulder has fully recovered. Harang and Capuano are under contract, as is Beckett. Blanton is a free agent and will likely test the waters, but he didn’t perform all that well as a Dodger anyway.
A press release from ESPN LA says that Dave Hansen is out as hitting coach; he’s been offered another position within the organization. “Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, third-base coach Tim Wallach, first-base coach Davey Lopes, bench coach Trey Hillman and bullpen coach Ken Howell will return in 2013.”
At ESPN LA, Daniel Braunstein has written a combined look back/look forward post about the just-completed season.
Also at ESPN LA there’s an unsigned (but probably Mark Saxon-written) post putting a letter-grade on the infield’s performance for the season. Hint: you’d probably not be promoted to the next grade if you got the one he assigned.
Via Roberto comes this link to a Ken Gurnick story which informs us that Yasiel Puig had a staph infection in his elbow requiring surgery. It’ll take three to five weeks to rehab and it means he’ll miss the Arizona Fall League.