Below are Spring Training notes from the Dodgers:
ON THE MOUND: Dodger right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will make his sixth and final spring start tonight and he is still searching for his first 2011 victory. Kuroda is slated to take the mound for the first time in the regular season on Sunday afternoon against the Giants opposing LHP Barry Zito. Following Kuroda to the mound this evening are LHP Scott Elbert and RHP Lance Cormier. The Angeles will counter with left-hander Scott Kazmir.
- FREEWAY FOLLIE: The Dodgers allowed two runs in the ninth inning and dropped yesterday’s Freeway Series opener to the Angeles, 5-4, at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles made two errors in a contest that saw five errors combined. On the mound, a trio of relievers looked ready for the season as Mike MacDougal (1.0), Matt Guerrier (1.1) and Hong-Chih Kuo (1.0) allowed just one baserunner between them. At the plate, Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe and Rod Barajas collected run-scoring hits.
- CHAD’S GOING TO HANG: This afternoon, the Dodgers announced that right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley signed a three-year contract extension, keeping him in Dodger Blue through the 2014 season. Billingsley, 26, has posted a winning record in each of his five Major League seasons and all eight of his professional campaigns. As a Los Angeles Dodger, the right-hander is 59-41 (.590) with a 3.55 ERA in 160 career games (131 starts). His winning percentage since his 2006 debut ranks 12th in the NL over that time and his 52 victories since 2007 are tied for eighth among current NL hurlers.
DONNIE’S 11: Once again, the Dodgers will dress 11 minor leaguers for tonight’s game, including their past two Minor League Players of the Year, Dee Gordon (70) and Jerry Sands (68). Corey Smith (98) has made an impact in his nine games with the big league club and is batting .600 (6-for-10) with two homers and six RBI in limited game action. Allen Webster (88) has thrown 2.0 scoreless innings already for the Dodgers this spring and enters the season rated as the club’s No. 5 prospect by Baseball America. Randy Keisler (91), Justin Sellers (72), Matt Wallach (87), Michael Antonini (92), Steven Ames (93), Jon Huber (71) and Merkin Valdez (97) are also available for Don Mattingly tonight.
BIRTHDAY BONANZA: The Dodgers would like to wish a very happy birthday to broadcaster Pepe Yñiguez and Physical Therapist Nancy Patterson. Yñiguez is entering his 13th full season with the club while Patterson is beginning her first. The duo share their big day with Hall of Famer Cy Young, former British Prime Minister John Major and tennis player Jennifer Capriati.
LATIN AMERICAN CONFIDENTIAL: In a recent ESPN Magazine survey, active Latino players were asked, “Which team scouts Latin America the best?” The Dodgers were named most often (19.7%) followed by the Yankees (9.5%) and Rangers (8.3%). “The Dodgers were pioneers,” one Dominican position player told the publication. “I remember how important their academy was when I was a kid. Everybody wanted to grow up and be a Dodger.”