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.
The Dodgers send out their new (used) $147M man Greinke to face Jonathan Sanchez, an ex-Giant who had an absolutely horrible season last year, 1 – 9 with an 8.07 ERA split between the Royals and the Rockies.
In rehab news, Right-hander Chad Billingsley was scheduled to start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night and lefty Ted Lilly will start there on Friday.
Lineups will be posted soon after they’re announced.
LF: Carl Crawford
2B: Mark Ellis
CF: Matt Kemp
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
3B: Luis Cruz
RF: Andre Ethier
C: A.J. Ellis
SS: Justin Sellers
SP: Zack Greinke
As Dale mentioned in the comments below, the Dodgers optioned Dee Gordon to Albuquerque today and sent Yasiel Puig to AA Chattanooga, saying both players need more time to play regularly.
In addition, the team announced that Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game Two of the season on April 2 against the Giants. Kershaw will pitch Opening Day April 1st, Josh Beckett will pitch Game Three and Zack Greinke will pitch Game Four. Chad Billingsley will pitch a minor league game Friday, March 29 and will go into the rotation after the first four pitch. There’s an off day after each of the first two three-game series the Dodgers play, so there will be a slot for Billingsley in one of those six games.
Update: The Dodger Stadium Express shuttle will run from Union Station downtown to the stadium: “. . . for the first time, a dedicated bus lane on Sunset Boulevard has been established that should speed up the process. Game-day tickets will be honored as payment to ride the service and the shuttle operates 90 minutes before first pitch and 45 minutes after the game.”
Update: Jon posits that there are never too many starters on the staff, so the Dodgers shouldn’t be in a hurry to trade any of the current overabundance.
The last thing the Dodgers should do is rush into a low-value trade of one of their excess starting pitchers – Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang or Ted Lilly – just so they can make room for a Wall or Kevin Gregg in the back of their bullpen.
Absolutely. Better to keep the veterans up and the rookies down unless there’s a fantastic opportunity to fill a hole in the infield, and what are the odds any team in the majors has that much interest in any of these three serviceable but not spectacular pitchers?
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)
“Juan Uribe had the first hit for the Dodgers, a line single, and Andre Ethier the first extra-base hit, a triple off left-hander Leyson Septimo.”
Well might you ask “what the hell is Juan Uribe doing in the lineup at all?” A question, unfortunately, that I can’t answer.
Kershaw started, gave up two runs in two innings, and came out for Belisario. He too gave up two runs in the Dodgers’ eventual 9 – 0 loss to the White Sox.
Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu make their Dodgers exhibition debut Sunday against the White Sox at noon PT on Gameday Audio.
Update: Ownership in the form of Mark Walter and Stan Kasten was present for the game, and had some thoughts for Barry Bloom of MLB.com:
Expectations are high now for the Dodgers, and criticism could follow if they don’t win.
“I suppose people will say we were foolish or something and maybe they’ll even be right, if that’s the case,” Walter said. “I know Stan is going to do everything possible for the long term. We know that you can’t be a perennial strong team, strong franchise, without a farm system and player development. Stan is going to build that.
“I feel that especially in L.A., where there’s been a down period we’ll say, we needed to do something to tell the fans we cared and wanted to be back. Whether that results in a World Series ring right away or not, there’s really no guarantee of that. But it does tell people we care a lot.”
“I’m thinking, ‘Why me?’ This is awesome,” said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. “I get to catch two of the elite pitchers in all of baseball. Two former Cy Young winners. Guys who are probably going to win more Cy Youngs in their future. I’m more than excited.”
If there’s a more magical phrase than that to a baseball fan, it can only be “Game Seven.”
Anyway, the Dodgers’ Spring Training Camp in Arizona opens today for those two groups of players. The rest of the team arrives on Saturday. Here’s the official schedule.
Chad Moriyama has several wonderful pictures at his place, including ones of the Dodgers’ spring training caps (!). Gotta maximize revenue opportunities, I guess, but specific caps for training camp?
I’m preoccupied with a new dog, but I’ll start up the blog in earnest as the whole squad gets to Camelback Ranch, honest.
Bonus Training Coverage: The Vatican (!) just released video of John Paul II taking batting practice from 1987 while on an American tour. This took place in California.
Note: There’s some speculation as to whether that’s really Pope John Paul II, based on the English fluency of the hitter and the lack of interest the spectators are taking in his swings. Who knows? It’s a fun video.
Update: Jon found this article at Fox Sports about our new #2 guy Greinke. Apparently he’s a pretty decent judge of baseball talent; so says his previous manager with the Brewers, and Ned Colletti agrees. Greinke met with Stan Kasten, Colletti and Mattingly before signing and they talked baseball:
“The conversation went three hours and could easily have gone longer,” Colletti said. “We talked about our draft — he knew Seager. We asked him to go through our lineup, and he went through all of our hitters’ strengths and weaknesses.
“I looked at Donnie, he looked at me. Zack was dead on.”