Jeepers. This Australia trip has done severe damage to the Spring Training schedule. The halt, the lame and the blind may get put on a short-term DL, those who don’t measure up may be cut early, and even the healthy may not be ready to pitch. According to the team website (via Jon W), they’re not even sure Kershaw will be ready to pitch on Opening Day in Australia.
The Dodgers will have only 19 days of Spring Training games to make nearly all of their decisions. Last spring, they played 36 games before Opening Day.
“It’s not a perfect situation,” said manager Don Mattingly, “but it’s good for the game.”
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.
Yikes. The only consolation for this is that the team which might be their strongest rival within the division is having to do precisely the same thing, since the D-Backs are the opponents in Oz.
When the team hasn’t announced a deal but the player has a locker at the Spring Training clubhouse in Arizona, does he have a deal? That’s what we know about Paul Maholm, who’ll be in his tenth year and has a lousy W-L record to show for it. On the other hand, if you’d pitched for the Pirates for seven years between 2005 and 2011, you’d have been hard-pressed to do much better.
Billingsley thinks his Tommy John surgery has given him an entirely new arm. He’s throwing 80mph off a mound and won’t try curveballs till the end of February.
Mattingly says Kemp probably won’t play in Australia; he hasn’t yet run outside.
Dee Gordon has been practicing at second base and in the outfield.
Now that Tanaka-san decided to try his luck with the Yankees, what do the Dodgers do? Do they really need another starter?
Yes, yes: “You can never have too much pitching.” And it’s true that after Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu the Dodgers have questions. Will Haren return to his earlier form, or is he now a .500 pitcher? Will Beckett and Billingsley recover fully from their respective injuries? Who knows?
Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo, among others, remain unsigned. Santana and Jimenez received qualifying offers, which means that landing them would cost the Dodgers a draft pick. That seems unlikely, given the team’s imperative to rebuild the farm system gutted by Frank McCourt. Neither Garza nor Arroyo received qualifying offers, which could put them in play.
I dunno. I think they need to get Hanley Ramirez’s contract extended before offering more money to any of those guys.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN both Tweet that the Dodgers have signed ex-Angel Chone Figgins to a minor league contract and invited him to camp as a non-roster guy. If he’s got anything at all left (he sat out last year and is 36 years old) he could be one of the utility guys the Dodgers desperately need.
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.