Friday, February 20, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Pitchers & Catchers Workout #1

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.

(Julio Urias signing for fans, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)
WE LOVE LA: Dodger pitchers and catchers held their first official workout of the spring today at Camelback Ranch – Glendale, with 30 pitchers and six catchers in camp. The lone battery member yet to report to Arizona is right-hander Kenley Jansen, who underwent surgery to remove a growth from a bone in his left foot Tuesday.
  • Clayton Kershaw, Brandon League, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Joe Wieland, Chris Hatcher, Juan Nicasio, Daniel Coulombe, Carlos Frias, Adam Liberatore, Erik Bedard, David Huff, Josh Ravin and Ryan Buchter all threw their first “official” bullpens of the spring today.
  • Non-roster reliever Sergio Santos missed today’s workouts due to illness.

A IS FOR AARDSMA: David Aardsma donned Dodger blue for the first time today after signing a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp yesterday. Aardsma spent the 2014 season in the St. Louis organization and went 4-0 with 11 saves and a 1.29 ERA in 33 games for Triple-A Memphis, where he limited opponents to a .161 batting average. The 33-year-old is two games shy of 300 career MLB appearances, going 15-17 with 69 saves and a 4.23 ERA in 298 games with the Giants (2004), Cubs (2006), White Sox (2007), Red Sox (2008), Mariners (2009-10), Yankees (2012) and Mets (2013).
  • If Aardsma makes an appearance for the Dodgers this year, he will top the all-time alphabetical franchise roster, just ahead of pitcher Don Aase (1990).
(Justin Turner and friends, pic via John Force Racing on twitter)

ALL DODGERS, ALL THE TIME: Yesterday, SportsNet LA announced that the network will broadcast 31 Dodger Spring Training games, including the team’s three Freeway Series exhibition games against the Angels. The first live Spring Training telecast will be the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener against the White Sox on Wednesday, March 4 at 12:05 p.m. PT. Most Spring Training games on the network will be called by Charley Steiner, who will be joined by Rick Monday, Kevin Kennedy and Orel Hershiser. Vin Scully, who is entering his 66th season with the club, is expected to call four Spring Training telecasts, including the Freeway Series.

COLLEGE BALL: The two most recent College World Series champions will be on display in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic Sunday, March 8, when 2013 titlist UCLA meets USC and defending champion Vanderbilt faces TCU, the Dodgers announced today. The TCU-Vanderbilt game is slated to begin at 11:45 a.m. and the USC-UCLA matchup is at 3:30 p.m. Tickets priced at $25 for Dugout Club seats, $20 for Baseline Club seats and $10 for Field level seats are available at, and Tickets for USC and UCLA students and children under 14 are $5 and also are available in advance only at the UCLA and USC box offices or at Dodger Stadium on the day of the event. Parking is $10 and is available only at the gate. Parking and stadium gates will open at 11:30 a.m.
  • Defending CWS champion Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America preseason top 25. TCU, which advanced to the 2014 CWS in Omaha, Neb., is rated No. 7.  UCLA is ranked No. 11.
(Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015)

PACE YOURSELF: Today, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced additions to the sport’s pace of game program and a series of modifications to the instant-replay system. The pace of game program will enforce the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs, and also a new component, the addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. For replay, managers will be able to invoke challenges from the dugout and can retain their challenge after every call that is overturned. In addition, tag-up plays are now reviewable and a manager must use a challenge in order to review whether a play at home plate included a violation of the rule governing home plate collisions.

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College Baseball Returns to Dodger Stadium

Baseball is coming to Dodger Stadium earlier than you think.

On the Sunday, March 8th they will be hosting a college Baseball tournament, recently redubbed the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, and four powerhouses will be there to entertain (well, three powerhouses - snicker, sniker). 

Defending champion Vanderbilt (#1) faces TCU (#7) at 11: 45AM and the 2013 College World Series Champion UCLA (#11) will play USC a 3:30 PM.  Go here to purchase tickets

Prices are cheap, so if you're aching for some competitive hardball on the diamond you cannot go wrong this.  Tickets are $25 for Dugout Club seats, $20 for Baseline Club seats and $10 for Field level seats.  Furthermore, USC and UCLA students and children under 14 years old can purchase $5 tickets either on that day at Dodger Stadium or in advance only at UCLA and USC box offices or at Dodger Stadium.

Per a press relase:
The event dates to 2010, when Vanderbilt edged Oklahoma State, 7-6, and UCLA defeated USC, 6-1. In 2011, Georgia blanked St. Mary’s, 3-0, and USC shut down UCLA, 2-0. In 2012, Pepperdine topped UC Irvine, 3-2, and UCLA downed USC, 7-2. Due to renovations at Dodger stadium, the 2013 games were played at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium, where Notre Dame trimmed Oklahoma, 6-5, in 11 innings, and UCLA beat USC, 6-1. The event did not take place in 2014.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

So, They Will Air 31 Spring Training Games This Year

With 70% of the Southland unable to watch the Dodgers on television how much does it really matter if they plan on airing 31 Spring Training games this year?

Don't get me wrong.  I love that they've gone all in for the preseason.  It's a welcome improvement over past years.  Heck, I happen to live in an area with Time Warner, so I'll certainly benefit. 

Unfortunately, a large number of my Dodger Blue friends are not so lucky.  They'll be left in the dark this Spring and it's likely to stay that way the whole season - once again. 

Still, I feel a certain sense of obligation to let you all know what's in store for SportsNet LA.  Per a press release from yesterday, the Dodgers will be televising just about every Dodger Spring Training game this year.  The only games that are likely to not be televised are on days when a split squad game is on the schedule.  In those instances they'll only be able to televise one of the games played on that date.

It will all begin on Wednesday, March 4th for their opening game against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch at 12:05 PM.  Per the press release:
Most Spring Training games on the network will be called by veteran Dodger broadcaster Charley Steiner who will be joined by Rick Monday, Kevin Kennedy and Orel Hershiser.  The Dodgers’ legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully returns for his 66th season in the booth to call four Spring Training telecasts including the Freeway Series.
From what I understand, Vin Scully will call all three games of the Freeway Series against the Angels and one game in Arizona.  Additionally, the Dodger daily news show, "Access SportsNet: Dodgers" will air every weekday at 6:00 PM and immediately after games played on weekends.  The cast of John Hartung, Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alanna Rizzo remains the same. 

Of course, if you can't watch these games at home you probably don't care so much.  After all, as that old saying goes (and adjusted for my purposes):
"If they televise all the games and you can't watch it, should you be expected to give a crap?"
On the other hand, the above phrase doesn't entirely ring true because that not how sports fanaticism works.  Of course you care, and the currently situation only makes you angry.  No, more than angry.  You're livid.  As a dear friend recently told me:
"There's a special place in hell for these folks"

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 2/20/2015 - Dodger Links - The First Day of Spring Training

So what do starting pitchers do when they arrive to spring training?

Play ping pong, of course.  Featured above are Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw battling it out on the clubhouse on the day that pitchers and catchers reported for the new season.  No word yet on who won, but I'm sure it was fun to watch.  Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out more photos from Jon from the Dodgers first day of Spring.

Below are some more links to check out:

  • The Dodgers will look internally for a temporary closer and don't appear to be pressured to make a move.  Still, I wouldn't be surprised if they work on providing more pitching depth.

"I wanted everybody around me to know I'm not oblivious to the fact we didn't win the World Series," Kershaw said of his acceptance speech. "I wanted to make sure to get that message across."
“I worked on stances, different ways to set up,” he said. “It’s no secret somewhere I’ve struggled, based on the statistical information, is framing metrics. … Hopefully I can turn that from a weakness into a strength.”
“It’s just one of those things I have that someone else doesn’t. I used to kid Ryne Sandberg when we were on the Cubs – He ran well, and I didn’t run so well in comparison, but I had an inside-the-park home run, and he didn’t. And he didn’t have his own record, either!”
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Andrew Friedman, Don Mattingly on spring training stats."
  • Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs asks the question I've always wondered, "How Many Good Players Were Good Prospects?"
  • On a side note, my commute to work is very short, so I don't have much of an opportunity to listen to KROQ in the morning.  Well, imagine my surprise when I found out this morning that Lisa May is no longer on the show.  Wha...?

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