One of the most famous pitchers in baseball has been competing in team-roping events under an alias for some time. Was he the Mason Saunders who competed alongside Colorado-based roper Tammy Ellerman in March of last year, two days before Bumgarner pitched for the Giants in a Cactus League game against the Athletics? “That was me, too,” Bumgarner said. Has “Saunders” won other events? “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe.”
Bumgarner has been roping so long that “it’s just part of who you are,” he said Sunday. He learned the sport at 15 or 16 under the instruction of the man who became his father-in-law. (His brother-in-law also “rodeos full time during the summer,” the pitcher said.) He’s practiced roping on everything from a statue of a bull at Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall to Jeremy Affeldt’s patio furniture.
Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner suffered a small non-displaced fracture of his left wrist Monday night when hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch. He will open the season on the disabled list and be re-examined by local hand specialist, Dr. Brian Shafer, on Tuesday to determine how long he will be sidelined.
General manager Farhan Zaidi said this type of injury is “usually on the order of weeks” and surgery probably won’t be necessary. He said the club is not looking to replace Turner with an acquisition because of confidence in its internal depth.
Video of the incident and of Manager Dave Roberts talking about the injury at this link.
Have a nice story complimenting the Dodger Stadium architects and the owners who have kept it up.
Okay, it’s an ad for Kingsford charcoal, it’s still kinda cute.
Corey Seager’s elbow shows no ill-effects from throwing in a game Wednesday and Kiké Hernandez says “Hey, I can hit right-handers too!” Alex Wood went five innings and struck out six White Sox “A” leaguers while giving up just one hit, and Matt Kemp went 1-4 as a starter in left field. Andrew Toles came off the bench and was 0-for-1. Alex Verdugo came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a double. Trayce Thompson came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a bloop double. Other news here.
So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:
Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4
As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:
In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.
I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.
To get into the mood, Houston Mitchell of the Times is listing the results of a readers’ poll which asked “Who are the 10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time?”
I received 8,382 ballots from newsletter readers who responded to send me their choices as the top 10 Dodgers of all time. Points were assigned based on ranking, with the first-place choice getting 12 points, second place getting 10, third place eight, down to one point for 10th place. After tabulating the ballots, I will be presenting the top 25 in points. We will be counting down Nos. 25-11, one each weekday, for the next three weeks. Then we will time the top 10 so No. 1 unveils on March 29, the day the season opens.
Click the link to see who #25 is.
The Cubs wanted Yu Darvish enough to pay him $126 million over six years. Obviously the Dodgers didn’t want to pay that much for that long. I suspect it was the length of the contract more than the dollars which gave the Dodgers pause.
Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood are both ready for spring training:
The Dodgers and Angels put on their annual Freeway Series three-game show to end spring training for both teams starting Friday night. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Brandon McCarthy earned the #4 spot in the rotation. He’ll be preceded by Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill and followed by Hyun-jin Ryu. At least that’s the plan today.
Roberts added that Alex Wood, a finalist for the rotation, would share the long relief role with Ross Stripling. Rounding out the bullpen are closer Kenley Jansen, set-up man Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher.
Barnes will likely be the backup catcher, although that’s not been formally announced. Kiké Hernandez hurt his wrist the other day and is questionable for the backup infielder spot until he shows it’s healed. If he can’t go, it’ll probably be Chris Taylor, and that might mean Van Slyke stays up too, since he can play center field and Taylor doesn’t. Additionally,
The Dodgers trimmed the roster before leaving Arizona on Wednesday, sending out seven players. Infielder Rob Segedin was optioned and reassigned were outfielders Tyler Holt and O’Koyea Dickson, pitcher Brandon Morrow, first basemen Cody Bellinger and Ike Davis, and infielder Charlie Culberson.
David Pinto of Baseball Musings is doing hitting projections for all MLB teams, and today is the Dodgers’ turn.
I don’t want to criticize the lineup too much, since apart from Seager, the starters project to OBPs between .334 and .352. They are the Lake Woebegone of OBP, everyone above average. All those are good, and all could easily vary 20 or 30 points from their projections. The Dodgers take the value of OBP literally, and every one batting will have plenty of chances to drive in runs.
The calculations are detailed at his site, so I won’t go into them here. His work is always interesting.
“I think it’s something we continue to talk through and ultimately for us, it’s what’s best for Julio and what’s best for us,” Roberts said. “I think that there is a certain innings limit that he’s going to have this year and we all understand that and we all accept that. We want him to be ready to go in September and beyond.”
In other news, Scott Kazmir will likely be the starter on Wednesday against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Hyun-Jin Ryu will pitch on a back field.
In case you missed Cody Bellinger’s home run the other day, here’s a link to the video.