FREEWAY STORY 2: The Dodgers and Angels square off again today following yesterday’s 4-1 Halos’ victory at Diablo Stadium in Tempe. The Boys in Blue also dropped their other split-squad game over in Scottsdale, 8-3 to the Giants. The 2011 Camelback Ranch lid-lifter will see the Dodgers searching for their first Cactus League victory of the year after going 11-17-2 in 2010. After today, the two squads won’t meet again until the Freeway Series on March 28 at Dodger Stadium and March 29 at Angel Stadium.
THE FIGHTERS: Dodger right-hander RHP John Ely will make his 2011 Spring debut this afternoon. Ely took L.A. by storm last season, making six straight quality starts from May 6 to June 1 after replacing an injured Vicente Padilla in the rotation. Ely’s six straight quality starts were the most consecutive by a Dodger rookie since Hideo Nomo in 1995. In addition, the Illinois native faced 89 straight batters without allowing a walk from April 28 to May 22, the longest such streak by a Dodger rookie since Dave Stewart had a 93-batter streak in 1981. Following Ely to the mound will be RHP Blake Hawksworth, RHP Mike MacDougal, RHP Ramon Troncoso, RHP Kenley Jansen and RHP Jon Link. LHP Scott Kazmir will take the ball for the Angels.
SURVIVING WINTER’S BONE: Despite a hard rain throughout the night and chillier than average temperatures, the show will go on and today marks the 2011 home opener for Camelback Ranch. The Dodgers have called Camelback Ranch their Spring Training home since 2009 and March 1 will mark the two-year anniversary of the first game on these grounds. Since opening, the club has set numerous attendance records and last season the Dodgers drew 124,501 fans in 14 contests at Camelback Ranch.
INCEPTION: Opening Day at Dodger Stadium against the Giants on Thursday night, March 31 is just 32 days away. Yesterday, approximately 3,000 fans braved the elements and showed up at Dodger Stadium, helping Opening Day sell out in less than two hours. However, Opening Day tickets are still available to those purchasing season tickets or mini plans. To get your Opening weekend tickets vs. the Giants, visit dodgers.com.
THE DODGER KING’S SPEECH: Later today, Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be honored with a lifetime achievement award and a city certificate tomorrow at the Beverly Hills Wine Festival. The mayor of Beverly Hills will be on hand for the ceremony which will recognize Scully’s dedication and contributions to Los Angeles.
TRUE GRIT: After getting the day off yesterday, Dodger gamers Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal and Juan Uribe are in the starting lineup this afternoon and will make their 2011 Spring Training debuts. Blake played in 146 games last season, his most since 2007 while Uribe logged 148 contests, including 139 starts, his most since 2007. Injuries limited Furcal to 97 games in 2010, but he was named to the NL All-Star team and averaged 153 games per season from 2002-2006.
- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Four Dodger minor leaguers will dress for the game today, including youngsters Javier Solano (RHP), Alberto Bastardo (LHP) and David Pfeiffer (LHP). Bastardo, who will wear No. 87, tied for the Dodger organizational lead last season with 12 wins and 27 combined starts at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. Pfeiffer will wear No. 89 and was taken by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. The left-hander was born in Vero Beach, FL and attended Indian River Community College. Solano, wearing No. 92, went 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 35 combined relief appearances with Single-A Inland Empire and Double-A Chattanooga.
- THE MEDICAL NETWORK: The Dodgers’ big league medical staff has added a few members this season, as Jeremiah Randall will be the new Major League Physical Therapist and Nancy Patterson joins the big league club as an Assistant Athletic Trainer. Other medical department changes throughout the minors include Collin Eggebrecht (Minor League Physical Therapist), Yosuke Nakajima (Double-A Chattanooga Athletic Trainer), Lindsey Pyc (Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Athletic Trainer), Peter Houdek (Single-A Great Lakes Athletic Trainer), Matt Jackson (Single-A Great Lakes Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Vinny Vasquez (Rookie-level Ogden Strength and Conditioning Coach).
3 HOURS: The Dodgers’ contest against the Angeles can be heard in Los Angeles on 790 KABC with Charley Steiner behind the microphone. In addition to the radio, today’s game can be seen on PRIME TICKET in high definition. Steiner’s voice will be simulcast on PRIME TICKET as well as the MLB Network.
WHITE SWANS: Jonathan Broxton and Clayton Kershaw were honored on Thursday night at the 6th Annual LA Sports Awards with Broxton’s save of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim tying for the 10th-Greatest Los Angeles Sports Moment of the year and Kershaw’s first career shutout, which came on Sept. 15 at San Francisco, being recognized as the greatest Dodger moment of the season. Don Newcombe represented the Dodgers at the star-studded event at The Beverly Hilton, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Sports Council.