Monday, February 10, 2014

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #2

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.
(pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

ALL IN: Today was the second day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Thursday, position players report with the first full-squad workout of 2014 scheduled for Friday.
  • A number of position players have reported to camp early for voluntary workouts, including Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero, Scott Van Slyke, Nick Buss, Justin Sellers and Mike Baxter. Non-roster invitees Justin Turner and the club’s No. 1 ranked prospect of 2014 according to Baseball America, Joc Pederson, are also here at Camelback Ranch – Glendale in advance of Thursday’s report date.
    (Alex Guerrero, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)
BACK AT IT: Today marked the second group of pitchers to throw bullpen sessions as Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Jamey Wright, Paul Maholm, Stephen Fife, Brandon League, Chris Withrow, Paco Rodriguez, Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez threw off the mound on the backfields of Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Also throwing their first ‘pens of the spring were non-roster invitees Red Patterson and Carlos Frias.
  • Beckett officially reported to Spring Training today after having undergone season-ending surgery on July 10 to remove his right first rib to relieve pressure on his nerves caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In 2013, Beckett posted a 5.19 ERA in eight starts before being placed on the disabled list. The three-time All-Star and 2003 World Series MVP ranks sixth among active pitchers (min. 1,500 IP) with an average of 8.34 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in his career and ranks 12th in the Majors with 106 wins since the start of the 2005 season.
  • Billingsley, who also underwent season-ending surgery (Tommy John) on April 24 of last season, continued his rehab by throwing his first official bullpen of the spring today. Billingsley, the longest-tenured Dodger, made two starts before eventually being lost for the season in 2013, failing to post a double-digit win total for the first time since 2006.
(Josh Beckett, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

DO IT FOR THE KIDS: Outfielder Matt Kemp joined President Bill Clinton, Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant and other sports luminaries in a powerful conversation about the role of sports in the lives of children and the health of the nation through a town hall event on the topic, “Kids and Sports.” The event, which was originally taped two weeks ago in La Quinta, CA, was moderated by Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, and aired last night on ESPN2.
(Kemp in the cage, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

ROME: Clayton Kershaw joined Jim Rome (via satellite) today for a sit-down interview that will air on Showtime on Wednesday, February 12 at 9:00 p.m. EST. Other guests on Wednesday’s episode include Dodger Partner Peter Guber, in addition to comedian Kevin Hart, Portland Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Syracuse Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Boeheim.

AMATEUR HOUR: College baseball takes center stage at Camelback Ranch-Glendale this weekend when Seth Rosin’s Minnesota Golden Gophers face Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti’s alma mater, the Northern Illinois Huskies, in a three-game series to open their 2014 seasons. The Gophers and Huskies will meet in the Camelback Ranch main stadium at 1:00 p.m. Friday-Sunday, February 14-16. Fans are invited to arrive after 9:00 a.m. to watch the Dodgers and White Sox morning workouts and stay for bonus college baseball in the afternoon. Admission is free and food and beverages will be available for purchase during workouts and the college games.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A Campanella Plaque and Duke Snider Art Piece at Hunt Auctions

Hunt Auctions is currently running their monthly online auction and it includes a couple of nice Dodgers memorabilia items.  Check them out below.
(auction link)

Above is a commemorative plaque given to Roy Campanella in 1965 for attending the New York Yankees Old-Timers Game at Yankee Stadium.  The plaque reads:
New York Yankees
19th Annual Old Timers Day
Saturday July 31, 1965
Honoring All-Time Award Winners
Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers
Yankee Stadium Home of Champions.
The below piece is an original artwork by Steve Sax (no, not the former Dodger).  Sax is a Brooklyn born artist who is known in the sports world for his modern folk-art inspired artwork.  Below is a piece featuring Duke Snider grabbing a ball in front of the famed "Abe Stark" outfield sign at Ebbets Field.
(auction link)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Dee Gordon got onto Twitter and Spoke with the Fans

Dee Gordon came onto the scene in 2011 and absolutely wowed the Dodger faithful.  He ran with the speed of a gelding while showing an ability to hit for average.  In that inaugural season he batted .304 in over 200 at-bats and stole 24 bases.  Still, there was room for improvement.
(Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2011)

Unfortunately, the subsequent couple of years had not been fruitful for him.  He had earned the shortstop Opening Day position in 2012, but his on-base percentage suffered; along with his batting average.  Soon, he found himself back in the minors.

Today, Dee Gordon has another chance at earning a job on the big club.  There are questions about the Dodgers 2nd base position, and Dee Gordon finds himself in the thick of a competition for the job.

Can he reestablish himself as a top prospect and Major Leaguer?

We'll know that answer over the coming weeks.  What I do know now is that Dee Gordon has worked hard over the winter to bulk up.  Check out the photo below that he posted in Instagram recently.  The kid looks stacked.
(pic via Dee Gordon's Instagram)

Well, Dee will be heading to Camelback Ranch in the next few days to join other Dodger position players, so he decided to spend his last day at home with some fine folks on twitter.

Let the questions begin.

That's an easy one.  Dee Gordon's father is former Major League closer Tom Gordon.

265 lbs.  Not too bad!

A Stephen King fan.  Nice.

As Yogi Berra said, "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."

That's what Baseball is all about.  Can you persevere?

So far, so good.

Lastly, here's an Olympic question answered.

You should check out Dee Gordon's twitter account.  He answered a whole ton of questions - more than I could reasonably ever put in one post.  Go here: @FlashGJr.  On a side note, Dee seems to be a good guy, and I hope he continues to improve.  It would be great if he forces the Dodgers to make a difficult decision; i.e. he performs so well that he forces the Dodgers to keep him with the team.  I still have high hopes for him and would love to once again feel those good vibes that resonated back in 2011.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 2/10/2014 - Dodgers Links - Spring Training is Here!

Spring Training has finally begun.  As you know, pitchers and catchers reported on Saturday.  Pic above features youngsters Onelki Garcia, Jose Dominguez, Pedro Baez, Carlos Frias and Yimi Garcia; via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.
 "My arm hasn't felt this good in a few years. I feel like I have a whole new arm," Billingsley said on reporting day for Spring Training. "They keep telling me, don't throw 95 [mph] yet."
Then, read this: "Greinke weighs in on Kershaw's record deal"
"He's been so good, anything he gets you'd probably say he's worth. Maybe he got a little more than I thought, maybe a million a year more. The opt-out is big -- he'll only be 28 [actually 30]. That's the main reason you might say it will be better [for Kershaw]. I think it's pretty fair all the way around."
"He said when you come back that's the hardest part, trying to get ready for the season. It's not an ideal situation, travel-wise. But you just have to make it work," Kershaw said. "I want to go there and see the country, go over there and see Sydney. I'd love to go there on vacation. I don't really want to go pitch there, but that's what we're signed up to do so we're going to have to get ready to do it."
"It's good to trim up and try to take some stress off my lower body. I want to catch 120-125 games this year and I want to be physically ready to do that," Ellis said. "You can't do that if you're not in great shape and able to withstand the physical grind of the position."

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *