Below are Spring Training notes from the Dodgers:
HERE COMES THE SUN: The Dodgers play the Cubs for the third and final time this spring after losing both of their previous two matchups in extra-inning walk-off fashion. The two clubs will play all six of their regular season contests in the first 32 games of the campaign with the Dodgers visiting Wrigley Field from April 22-24 and the Cubs heading west from May 2-4.
A WASH: The Dodgers’ six-game unbeaten streak came to an end last night as Los Angeles fell 3-0 to the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick. Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs over 5.0 innings and Mike MacDougal and Kenley Jansen both tossed a scoreless inning of relief. MacDougal has yet to allow an earned run (one unearned) in 7.1 innings over eight relief appearances this spring. Yesterday’s matinee against Oakland was canceled due to rain and Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Jamey Carroll are expected to get at-bats in a minor league game today to make up for their missed plate appearances yesterday.
ROSTER RUNDOWN: This morning, the Dodgers reassigned right-hander Oscar Villarreal to minor league camp. The club now has 20 pitchers and 21 position players remaining in Major League camp.
DIFFERENT GLOVES: Don Mattingly penciled in a slight wrinkle to today’s lineup with Hector Gimenez making his first appearance of the spring in the outfield and Jay Gibbons sporting a first baseman’s glove. Gibbons has appeared in 89 Major League games at first base, including three last year with Los Angeles, while Gimenez has appeared in the outfield only three times in his minor league career.
HURLERS: Right-hander Chad Billingsley will make his fifth start of the spring this afternoon and second against the Cubs after allowing two runs (one earned) over 3.2 innings on March 6 in Mesa. Billingsley has fanned 11 batters in 15.0 Spring Training innings and ranks sixth in the NL with 551 strikeouts over the last three seasons. 2010 All-Star Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso, Travis Schlichting, Lance Cormier and Scott Elbert will follow Billingsley to the mound today. Right-hander Ryan Dempster (1-0, 2.00 ERA) will make his second start of the spring against Los Angeles after holding the Dodgers to one run on three hits over 4.0 innings on March 6 in Mesa.
FAMILY CONNECTION: Dodger infielder Ivan de Jesus Jr. will hope to continue his impressive spring this afternoon in front of his father, Ivan de Jesus Sr., the Cubs’ third base coach. The younger De Jesus is batting .297 with two doubles and two RBI in 19 Cactus League contests this season. There’s also a family connection in the third base coaching box for Los Angeles as Tim Wallach’s son Brett is a pitcher in the Cub organization after being traded last season from the Dodgers, while another son, Matt, is a catcher with the Dodger organization.
- HALL OF FAME HONOR: Last night, Dodger Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín received the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) Foundation’s 2011 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award (The AMEES). AFTRA is a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcasters working in the entertainment and news media. Jarrín was awarded an AMEE award along with “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh and recording artist David Crosby.
ALWAYS A DODGER: Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe and “Sweet” Lou Johnson spoke to the Major League club this morning during its morning meeting. Newcombe and Johnson are two of the many former Dodgers that have stopped by Camelback Ranch this spring to work with the club including Tommy Davis, Rick Rhoden, Darren Dreifort, Steve Yeager, Ramon Martinez and Maury Wills, who mans Maury’s Pit on a daily basis. Newcombe will be further honored by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before today’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
HIGH NUMBERS: Nine minor leaguers will dress with the Dodgers today including Sunday’s eighth-inning home run heroes Corey Smith (96) and Jaime Pedroza (87). The rest of the minor leaguers in uniform today include Kyle Russell (90), Blake Smith (94), Orlando Mercado (93), Justin Sellers (72), Wilberto Ortiz (89), Josh Walter (97) and Will Savage (95).
SPOTTED YET AGAIN: The Dodgers would like to wish Special Advisor, Player Development Ramon Martinez a very happy 43rd birthday today as he enters his second season in the Dodger front office. Martinez played 11 seasons in Dodger blue from 1988-98 and ranks seventh on the club’s all-time wins list with 123 and is sixth on the franchise’s all-time strikeout list with 1,312.