Below are Day 26 Spring Training notes from the Dodgers.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE: The Dodgers make their second and final trip to Surprise this afternoon, this time to play the American League champion Texas Rangers. The Dodgers and Rangers will also hook up for the final time this spring tomorrow at Camelback Ranch. Previously, Los Angeles lost at Surprise Stadium to the Royals on Saturday. The Rangers and Dodgers played a three-game regular season series in Texas in 2009, but the Rangers have not visited Dodger Stadium since 2001.
SPEAKING OF 2001...: When the Dodgers and Rangers last met in 2001 at Dodger Stadium, the starting center fielder for Texas was 25-year-old Hollywood native Gabe Kapler. Kapler, now a 35-year-old elder statesman, is in his first camp with the Dodgers, which are his seventh big league organization, following stints with the Tigers (1998-99), Rangers (2000-02), Rockies (2002-03), Red Sox (2003-06), Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10). The 12-year veteran is batting seventh and playing center field this afternoon at Surprise Stadium.
A HELPING HAND: NBC LA is sponsoring a “drive-through” relief drive at Dodger Stadium tomorrow to help raise money for the American Red Cross Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. Members of the NBC LA news team and the Dodger Alumni Association will be taking donations from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Dodger Stadium Parking Lot 1. Cash donations will be accepted along with checks made out the American Red Cross with “Japan Tsunami Fund” in the memo line.
MOVING ON OVER: The Dodgers optioned RHP Carlos Monasterios and reassigned LHP Wilkin De La Rosa to minor league camp. Both pitchers each threw 2.0 innings yesterday in Las Vegas against the Cubs. There are now 54 players in camp (24 pitchers, 30 position players).
- MEDICAL MINUTE: Dodger third baseman Casey Blake will undergo an MRI this afternoon in Phoenix on his sore right side. Blake is listed as day-to-day and last played in Saturday’s contest in Scottsdale.
DOUBLE DOSE: The Dodgers dropped two contests yesterday, one at Camelback Ranch to the White Sox and another at Cashman Field in Las Vegas against the Cubs. The club has now lost seven consecutive Cactus League contests. Despite the record, several Dodgers are among the Cactus League leaders, including Tony Gwynn Jr., whose six stolen bases rank second. Elsewhere, Marcus Thames’ four doubles are tied for third in the Cactus League. On the mound, today’s starting pitcher John Ely will be searching for his third Cactus League victory. To date, no pitcher has won more than two games.
THE BOOK OF ELY: Right-hander John Ely will make his third start and fourth appearance of the spring this afternoon. Ely is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, after throwing 6.0 scoreless innings. The Illinois native has yielded just two hits while fanning seven batters in his four outings. Last season, Ely made 18 starts for Los Angeles in his rookie campaign. Following Ely to the mound for the Dodgers will be RHP Blake Hawksworth, RHP Lance Cormier and RHP Kenley Jansen. Right-hander Neftali Feliz will make the start for the Rangers.
JJ FAD: Tomorrow afternoon, “Dodgertalk” hosts Joe Block and Josh Suchon will have the call of the Dodgers-Rangers game on PRIME TICKET. The pair will welcome fellow KABC personality Peter Tilden to Camelback Ranch on Thursday. Tilden will broadcast live at the ballpark from 3-6 p.m. and be joined by numerous Dodger guests throughout the afternoon.
MORE RADIO FUN: Tomorrow afternoon, the boys from Sirius-XM’s MLB Network Radio will be onsite when their 30 in 30 tour hits Camelback Ranch. Former Dodger minor league manager Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette will be live from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. with Dodger guests dropping in throughout the day. In addition to the radio guys, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons will be at Camelback Ranch to interview both Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw.
- DON’T LOOK FOR THE NAME: The Dodgers called up three minor leaguers for today’s game in Surprise including infielder -outfielder Elian Herrera, who has logged 4.0 innings at second base and 4.0 at third this spring. Herrera will wear No. 87 while infielders Travis Denker and Jaime Pedroza will wear No.’s 92 and 89, respectively. Denker has yet to appear in a Cactus League game this spring, while Pedroza has played 7.0 innings at second base.