So too was Clayton Kershaw with the contingent of MLB stars who came to Cuba as a part of a Goodwill Tour the other day. He came out to experience and learn about the culture and the country that holds such high esteem for the game he plays. So he did what came natural. Kershaw was compelled to play a game of catch. Via Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com:
He plucked Jose Cruz, the former outfielder who now works for the Major League Baseball Players Association, and together they went out back, to the patio section of the resort and in plain sight of all its occupants. With the sun setting behind him, and a swelling mob surrounding him, Kershaw lightly went through his distinctive delivery and fired fastballs into Cruz's borrowed glove.
Cruz could hear people weeping.
"It was a bit surreal," Cruz said. "It was beautiful."
... "It kind of put it in perspective, how important baseball is here," Kershaw said. "Just the passion that the Cuban people have for baseball, and then maybe the significance of this trip, too."
"They keep saying, 'Baseball's the way of life,' but you don't really know what that means," Kershaw said. "Then you come here and you kind of understand. It's so important, and it's so new, too, this whole trip and what the people here can experience and what we as players can do. It's just such new territory for us. I think the excitement of being here is infectious."The photo above of Clayton having that catch is via @MLBPA on twitter. Below are more links to check out:
- Ha! Via Chris Cwik at Big League Stew, "Kiké Hernández and the dangers of tweeting during a trade rumor."
- David Hood at True Blue LA takes a look at "Dodgers top prospects 2016: No. 14, Zach Lee."
Lee attacks hitters in the same manner you would would expect from a sinker-slider guy. He pitched to a 50-percent ground ball rate in Triple-A this season and limited both free passes and home runs. It’s hard to see him improving on his strikeout rate given his present stuff, but with improved pitchability with both his four-seam and change up, I think he could hold his major league K-rate around six per nine innings. While he pitched to a sparkling 4.2-percent walk rate (1.51 per nine innings) in Triple A, he will have to avoid the tendency of sinker-slider guys nibbling too much at the major league level to keep hitters off their middling stuff and just trust his overall repertoire.
- It looks like former Major League outfielder George Lombard will be the Dodgers 1st base coach, via a tweet by Buster Olney. He had briefly played in the Dodgers minor league system in 2008, and worked as a hitting coach, manager and field coordinator for the Red Sox and Braves:
Locked in: George Lombard will be the first base coach of the Dodgers.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 16, 2015
- Via Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times, "Former Laker Mychal Thompson reacts to Dodgers trading for his son Trayce."
“Hopefully, sometime this year, Vin Scully will mention his name,” Thompson said.
The Dodgers view Trayce Thompson, who can play center field, as someone who could contribute in their major leagues in the upcoming season.
Mychal Thompson said he grew up a Dodgers fan in the Bahamas and that his brother Colin was in the organization’s farm system in the 1960s.
“I’m beyond thrilled,” he said.
- Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Thompson to trayce new path in Los Angeles."
“It’s definitely an exciting and kind of surreal moment for me,” he said. “It hasn’t sunk in completely yet … but to think about the possibility of playing in L.A. and playing in front of my parents a lot and family and friends, it’s definitely an opportunity I don’t want to take for granted.”
- Panini America has shared a bunch of preview pics for the 2016 Donruss Baseball card set. Check them out here. It includes a bunch of Dodger players; including the Kershaw, Seager and Beltre (as a Dodger) cards below. This will be arriving in early March.
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