WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: In a 1959 World Series rematch, the Dodgers and their Camelback Ranch – Glendale neighbor Chicago White Sox meet for the first of four Spring Training games. Los Angeles is today’s designated home team. The clubs will also face off during Interleague Play in Chicago from May 20-22.
MOURNING THE DUKE: Today, the Dodgers will honor the memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. The eight-time All-Star center fielder won two World Series championships in his 16 seasons with the Dodgers from 1947-62 and ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and RBI (1,271). The club will ask fans to observe a moment of silence prior to today’s game in memory of Snider.
GOOSE EGG: Don Mattingly won his first Spring Training game as Dodger manager yesterday as Los Angeles blanked the Angels 5-0. John Ely allowed one hit and struck out three in 2.0 scoreless frames and six Dodger relievers combined to limit the Halos to just four hits in the victory. Matt Kemp delivered a two-run single to the put Dodgers on the board in the first inning and Rod Barajas powered the first Los Angeles home run of the spring with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
HURLERS: Dodger Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of Spring Training this afternoon. The 22-year-old posted career-highs in wins (13), strikeouts (212) and innings (204.1) in 2010 and over the past two seasons, Kershaw ranks sixth in the Majors with a 2.85 ERA and leads the big leagues with a .208 opponents’ batting average. He will be followed to the mound by Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay and Travis Schlichting. Right-hander Gavin Floyd will take the hill for Chicago.
- IT’S LIKE CAREER WITH A “G”: Matt Guerrier will make his Dodger debut today after signing a three-year deal with the club in the offseason. Over the past two seasons, the former Minnesota Twin ranks second in the Majors with 56 holds and has posted a 2.75 ERA with a .213 opponents’ batting average. The 32-year-old has been a model of consistency with 70 appearances and 70.0 or more innings in each of the past four seasons with his 311.2 innings pitched since 2007 leading Major League relievers.
SHUTTING THE DOOR: Jonathan Broxton is slated to make his first appearance of Spring Training today against the White Sox and the Dodger closer ranks fifth in the National League (min. 300 IP) with a 3.00 ERA over the past five seasons. Over the course of his six Major League seasons, the 26-year-old leads all big leaguers (min. 300 IP) with an average of 11.70 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.
SWITCHING IT UP: Switch-hitters occupy three of the first five spots in today’s Dodger lineup with Aaron Miles, Dioner Navarro and Trayvon Robinson capable of hitting from both sides of the plate. Miles, who gets the start at second base, has been slightly better over the course of his eight Major League seasons as a right-handed hitter (.282) than from the left side (.279), while Navarro has been better as a left-hander (.263) in his career. Robinson, who has yet to crack the Majors, batted .319 as a left-hander and .291 from the right side last season with Double-A Chattanooga.
HIGH NUMBERS: Seven minor leaguers will join the Dodgers today, including 2010 California League All-Star right-hander Nate Eovaldi (#95) and catcher Matt Wallach (#90), the son of Dodger third base coach Tim Wallach. Left-hander Michael Antonini (#94), who was obtained from the Mets in exchange for Chin-lung Hu, will dress for the Dodgers this afternoon after leading Double-A Binghamton in strikeouts (106) and innings (131.1) and finishing the season with Triple-A Buffalo last season. Stuart Pomeranz (#96), who tossed 0.2 scoreless innings on Saturday against the Angels, Elian Herrera (#89), David Pfeiffer (#87) and Merkin Valdez (#97) will also be available for the big league club today.
- LAST SEEN ON LOPEZ TONIGHT: The Dodgers would like to welcome Dodger legend Tommy Davis to Camelback Ranch. Davis will be visiting camp over the next few days to work with minor leaguers. He played eight seasons with Los Angeles from 1959-66, batting .304 with 86 home runs and 465 RBI in 821 games. The three-time All-Star batted .400 (6-for-15) with two triples and two RBI to help power the Dodgers to the 1963 World Series championship and finished his 18-year Major League career with a .313 batting average in 20 postseason games.
#CAMELBACK TWEETOFF – That’s right, today on Twitter the @Dodgers and @WhiteSox will be having their first-ever #Camelback Tweetoff. Fans following the two clubs’ twitter feeds can win prizes during today’s game with Dodger prizes including Matt Kemp Gold Glove Bobbleheads, autographed baseballs from Rafael Furcal and James Loney and Spring Training tickets. Fans will need to use #Camelback in their responses to win.