Below are Spring Training notes from the Dodgers.
STORMY MONDAY: The Dodgers are scheduled to play two games today, an afternoon tilt at Camelback Ranch with the Oakland A’s and a matchup with the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks under the lights at Talking Stick. Today will be the second and final of two spring contests with both clubs. The Dodgers lost to the A’s at Phoenix Municipal Field on March 11 and beat the D’backs at home on St. Patrick’s Day. Los Angeles has not lost in a week and will look to put their six-game unbeaten streak on the line, despite the forecast calling for a severe thunderstorm and continuing rain.
NEVER SAY DIE: The Dodgers came back from three down and plated five runs in the eighth inning to claim a 9-7 win over the Chicago White Sox yesterday. Corey Smith’s three-run blast tied the game at seven and then Jaime Pedroza ripped a two-run homer two batters later to provide the difference. Andre Ethier and Eugenio Velez had two hits apiece while right-hander John Ely allowed three runs and six hits over 5.0 innings. Los Angeles has won five of its last six games and the other contest was a 6-6 tie. The Dodgers last lost on March 14 to Texas.
BACK-TO-BACK: This afternoon at Camelback Ranch, left-hander Clayton Kershaw will make his fifth start of the spring. Kershaw’s 2.65 ERA (5 ER/17.0 IP) is tied for eighth in the Cactus League and he has posted 12 strikeouts against just four walks. The Texas native turned 23 on Saturday and is slated to start Opening Night, March 31 at Dodger Stadium vs. the Giants. Following Kershaw to the hill will be right-handers Jonathan Broxton and Matt Guerrier, who will both be making their first back-to-back appearances this spring.
TERRIFIC TRIO: Speaking of birthdays, a trio of current and former Dodgers are celebrating their big day today. Right-hander Carlos Monasterios, who was sent to minor league camp last Monday, turns 25 today. Monasterios shares his big day with Dodger Alumni Tommy Davis (72) and Tim Leary (53).
LEADERBOARD: Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp blasted his fourth home run of the Cactus League season yesterday and is now tied for fourth in the league. Kemp also leads the club with 12 RBI (6th, Cactus League) and 31 total bases (10th). Elsewhere, outfielder Tony Gwynn’s six steals are tied for third in the Cactus League and Clayton Kershaw’s 2.65 ERA is tied for eighth.
AIMING HIGH: Several Dodgers have impressive batting averages this Spring Training, led by Trent Oeltjen’s .421 (8-for-19) mark. Not to be outdone, Hector Gimenez (.345), Aaron Miles (.343), Juan Castro (.333), Marcus Thames (.333), Matt Kemp (.326), Tony Gwynn, Jr. (.324), James Loney (.303) and Ivan DeJesus (.303) are the players still remaining in big league camp with averages over .300.
- HALL OF FAME HONOR: Dodger Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín will be a recipient tonight of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) Foundation’s 2011 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards (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 will be honored at the AMEES dinner gala benefit for the AFTRA Foundation at Club Nokia. Jarrín will be awarded an AMEE award along with “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh and recording artist David Crosby.
THE ONE AND ONLY: The Dodgers would like to welcome Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe to Camelback Ranch. Newcombe will work with the minor leaguers this week and speak to the Major League club tomorrow morning. In addition, the legendary right-hander from New Jersey will toss out the ceremonial first pitch before the game against the Cubs tomorrow afternoon.
FOR OUR FRIENDS: On Saturday, Dodger fans at Camelback Ranch donated $5,873 dollars towards the American Red Cross’ Tsunami Relief Fund as the majority of the big league club and several Japanese minor leaguers signed autographs prior to yesterday’s tilt with the Brewers. Hiroki Kuroda signed autographs and collected donations after pitching 5.2 innings in his fourth Spring Training start.