Below are Day 19 Spring Training Report from the Dodgers.
- CARRY A BIG STICK: The Dodgers will travel to Scottsdale and play their first-ever contest at brand new Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home for the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Both NL West squads previously called Tucson their Cactus League casa. Today, the Dodgers play the first of two games this spring with the Rox as Colorado will come to Glendale on March 24. The divisional rivals meet for the first of 18 regular season games on April 5 in Denver, which will be the Dodgers fifth game of the 2011 season.
RIGHT SAID TED: Dodger left-hander Ted Lilly will see his first Cactus League action this afternoon after a bout with the flu kept him from making his first start last week. Lilly ended up throwing 2.0 innings in a “B” game on March 3 to stay on his throwing schedule. The California native was acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season and then was resigned to a three-year deal less than a month after the season ended. Lilly was 7-4 with a 3.54 ERA over 12 starts with the Dodgers in 2010 and his 54 National League wins since 2007 rank fifth in baseball behind Adam Wainwright (64), Derek Lowe (57), Bronson Arroyo (56) and Tim Lincecum (56). Following Lilly, the Dodgers will send RHP Tim Redding, RHP Javy Guerra, RHP Mike MacDougal RHP Blake Hawksworth and RHP Kenley Jansen to the mound. The Rockies will send last year’s 19-game winner, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, to the hill.
- EXTRA, EXTRA: The Dodgers yesterday fell to 0-5 on the road in Cactus League, losing 5-3 to the Chicago Cubs in extra innings. Despite the loss, infielder Aaron Miles (.333) continued his hot start with a triple and a run scored while outfielder Jamie Hoffmann (.417) did the same, going 1-for-2 with a run. On the mound, right-hander Carlos Monasterios tossed 2.0 scoreless innings and reliever Ramon Troncoso fired 1.1 perfect frames. Troncoso has not allowed a run over three appearances (3.1 IP) while striking out three and allowing just one hit.
LOTTA ZEROES: Chad Billingsley continued the Dodgers’ trend of superb starting pitching yesterday, allowing just one earned run over 3.2 innings. Through 10 games, Dodger starters have posted a minuscule 1.01 ERA (3 ER/26.2 IP). The Los Angeles projected rotation of Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland will boast five pitchers who each won 10 or more games last season. Their cumulative 2010 ERA of 3.39 (371 ER/986.0 IP) and .234 opponents’ batting average (857-for-3663) would have led all Major League starting rotations and their combined 844 strikeouts would have ranked third. Each member of the club’s starting rotation posted an ERA under 3.65, pitched more than 190.0 innings and made 30 or more starts last season.
- NEW FACES IN FIELD: Dodger outfielder Marcus Thames will make his first defensive start this afternoon as he will play left field and bat seventh. Thames has logged 24.0 innings as the Dodger designated hitter this spring to lead the club. Elsewhere, non-roster invitee Hector Gimenez will make his first start at first base, following 10.0 frames at catcher and 15.0 as the DH.
- GRAND LARCENY – Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. swiped another base yesterday and now has four this spring, which is tied with five other players for the Major League lead. The Dodgers currently rank third in the Cactus League with 14 stolen bases and in addition to Gwynn, Matt Kemp (2) and Eugenio Velez (2) have flashed some speed. Only two Dodgers have been caught stealing in 10 games this spring after the club stole just 10 bases in 30 Spring Training games last season.
DON’T “B” ALARMED: Tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., the Dodgers and Mariners will hold a “B” game at Field 6 on the minor league side. Dodger right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will start the game and be followed by several big league hurlers. Right-hander John Ely will end up starting the game over in Maryvale against the Brewers, robbing Japanese baseball fans the chance to see the unusual starting matchup of Kuroda vs. Milwaukee’s Takashi Saito, who was the Dodger closer from 2006-08.
- FOUR ON THE FLOOR: Four Dodger minor leaguers will join the big league club at Talking Stick today with right-hander Merkin Valdez (#96), outfielder Angelo Songco (#95), left-hander Cole St. Clair (#97) and infielder Corey Smith (#98), suiting up for Los Angeles. Songco hit .271 with 15 homers and 71 RBI for Single-A Great Lakes last year and belted 34 career home runs at Loyola Marymount, which ranks seventh on the all-time list. Last season in three Cactus League games, Songco went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and two RBI. Smith played the entire season at Double-A Chattanooga and was named to the Southern League’s Midseason and Postseason All-Star teams after finishing second in the league with 86 RBI and ninth with a .467 slugging percentage. The New Jersey native was signed as a free agent before the 2010 campaign.