Friday, March 27, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 26 / Home Game 13

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.

San Francisco Giants (6-19-1) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6-6)
Friday, March 27, 2015 – 7:05 p.m. MT | Camelback Ranch

RHP Chris Heston (0-0, 2.00) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (1-0, 3.00)
TV: SNLA Radio: AM 570

(Dodger Stadium with new cut grass, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

UNDER THE LIGHTS: The Dodgers, who have the Majors’ best spring winning percentage at .684, take on the Giants for the second time this spring after tying, 5-5, on March 9 in Scottsdale. The clubs will have one more exhibition matchup on Sunday in Scottsdale before opening their 19-game regular-season series on April 21 at AT&T Park. Los Angeles won the 2014 season series between the clubs, 10-9, and has been victorious in seven of its last nine game against the Giants.
  • Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will call tonight’s game from Camelback Ranch as he kicks off his unprecedented 66th season with the club. Scully will also call all three Freeway Series games next week.
  • Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe will throw tonight’s ceremonial first pitch as he concludes his annual visit to Spring Training. Newcombe, who pitched in 10 big league seasons from 1949-60, was a four-time All-Star, 1949 Rookie of the Year and took home both the Cy Young and MVP Awards in 1956.

THOSE WINNING WAYS: The Dodgers won their third consecutive game yesterday, beating the White Sox, 9-6, at Camelback Ranch. Clayton Kershaw improved to 3-0 on the spring, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out eight in 6.0 dominant innings. The Dodger offense continued to click with 13 hits, including home runs by Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins and Kik√© Hernandez. 
  • Puig has homered in three consecutive games and has four home runs in his last five games, batting .400 (6-for-15) with eight RBI since March 20. Overall, Puig is tied for second in the NL with five homers this spring.
  • Hernandez caught fire in San Antonio last weekend, hitting .429 (6-for-14) with four home runs and five RBI in his last six games since March 20.

FOLLOW THE LEADERS: The Dodgers raised their Major League-best home run total to 40 (eight more than the Cubs’ 32) with three more longballs yesterday and have a .286 team batting average (3rd, NL) with a .488 slugging percentage (2nd, NL) this spring.
  • Joc Pederson leads the NL with a .756 slugging percentage this spring and also ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.400, T-3rd), hits (18, T-1st), runs (11, T-3rd), total bases (34, 3rd), on-base percentage (.438, 8th) and home runs (4, T-4th).
  • Justin Turner has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and is batting .486 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBI, while posting a .513 on-base percentage and a .857 slugging percentage in 14 Cactus League games.
(Zack Greinke, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

ON THE MOUND: RHP Zack Greinke will make his fourth Cactus League start tonight, last pitching on Saturday against the Rangers in the Alamodome when he picked up the win and struck out six in 4.0 scoreless innings. Greinke won each of his five starts against the Giants last year, going 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA (6 ER/34.0 IP) and limiting San Francisco hitters to a .216 batting average (27-for-125) with 36 strikeouts.
  • LHP Paco Rodriguez is expected to make his eighth appearance of the spring tonight. Through seven Cactus League appearances, Rodriguez has tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, surrendering only three hits and striking out nine.
  • RHP Yimi Garcia is also expected to see action tonight. Garcia has held opposing hitters to a .138 batting average this spring, allowing only four hits in 8.1 scoreless innings.
  • Veteran RHP Mike Adams will make his fourth Cactus League appearance tonight. He tossed a scoreless inning in a Single-A game on Tuesday against the Brewers and last pitched in a big league game on Saturday, giving up two runs on two hits to the Rockies.
  • RHP David Aardsma will see action for the eighth time this spring. The veteran reliever has held opposing hitters to a .160 batting average, while striking out seven through 7.0 innings of work.
(Job Fair at Dodger Stadium, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

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A Vintage Dodger and a Negro League Great Found at Love of the Game Auctions

I thought I would share a couple of cool items I ran into when I checked out the current offerings from "Love of the Game" auctions; including an old-tyme Dodger player and a fantastic postcard photo of one of the early great Cuban ballplayers.

Short and stout with a mustache that would make todays hipsters green with envy, Jim McTamany played three years for the Brooklyn Grays (this is the Dodgers, as they were once known) in the mid to late 1880's.  Born a Philadelphia kid, he was known for his defensive prowess in centerfield and soon became well regarded for his ability to get on-base.  Unfortunately, that later skill didn't come until after he played in Brooklyn. 

McTamany recorded over 100 walks for three straight seasons, and lead the league in runs scored and walks in 1890 as a member of the Columbus Solons of the American Association.  Soon thereafter, though, he disappeared from Major League parks.  His batting average quickly eroded til he finally left the game in 1894 at the age of 30. 

Featured above is a 1887 Old Judge N172 tobacco card of McTamany as a member of the Brooklyn Grays.  It is currently on auction at Love of the Game Auctions.  Check it out here.


The real photo postcard below is just fantastic.  It features Baseball Hall of Famer and Cuban great Jose Mendez in his Sunday best.  Check out the auction here.  I'll let the auction description tell you a little bit about who he was.
El Diamante Negro ("the Black Diamond") is a legend in his home country of Cuba, one of the players inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1939.  Mendez rose to worldwide fame after throwing 25 consecutive shutout innings in three appearances against the Cincinnati Reds, including a one-hit complete game shutout.  Soon after, he pitched two more shutouts, racking up 43 consecutive scoreless innings.

An arm injury in 1914 caused Mendez to move to shortstop, where he played with the Detroit Stars and Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues, ultimately landing with the Kansas City Monarchs as player/manager, winning three consecutive pennants between 1923-25.  In the first Negro League World Series in 1924 against the Hilldale team, he appeared in four games, posting a 2-0 record including a shutout victory in the final game. 

No less a baseball mind than John McGraw called Mendez "sort of Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander rolled into one."
(Auction Link)

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Domingo Ayala's Spring Dodger Visit - (Video) Part 2 & 3

Domingo Ayala loves the Dodgers.  No doubt! 

And based on the below videos, the Dodgers love him too.

Domingo recently visited the team at Camelback Ranch and spent a bunch of time with several Dodger regulars.  Last week I shared some photos and Part 1 of his video hanging out with the "Boys in Blue."  Below are Part 2 and Part 3. 

Here is the description for Part 2, and take note that he got close and personal with Justin Turner.
In this episode he gets some swings in the cage with Justin Turner and a big league massage from Yosuke "Possum" Nakajima.

Video Link:

Here is Part 3. 
In this episode Domingo Ayala gets some work in with Gold Glove winner, Adrian Gonzalez. He also learns about the feared "Red Slip".

Video Link:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 3/27/2015 - Dodger Links - Scully, Time Warner and Alex Verdugo

Guess who's heading out to Arizona to broadcast tonight Spring game against the Giants.

Vin Scully, that's who.  For many Dodger fans his emergence from the winter hiatus to the glory of spring Baseball is the true start of the year.  He stories and voice are like the echoes of the Baseball Gods - providing assurances that all is right in the world. 

Vin Scully will call his first game tonight, and Dodger Nation will be glued to every word he says.  Unfortunately, that prior statement is far from true.  Much of the Southland is still restricted from access due to the incompetent machinations of the corporate class, and they fail to realize that their part in this mess only reinforces the general disgust consumers have towards the television delivery industry as a whole.  They are the epitome of the bad neighbor, and I look forward to the opportunity to leave them forever.  Please FCC, regulate them.  These behemoths do not deserve anything and they contribute nothing.

The wonderful vintage photo above of Vin Scully underneath his street sign at Dodgertown in Vero Beach was shared by @VinScullyTweet on twitter.  Below are some links to check out:
"Time Warner Cable has no plans to take a write-down in connection with its Dodgers contract," the company said late Tuesday in a statement.  "In fact, TWC does not carry an asset on its balance sheet related to the Dodgers and, therefore, there is no asset for it to write down now or in the future."
I'm not sure what that is suppose to mean. After all, it can't possibly be true that TWC doesn't account for the Dodger deal in some way.  Maybe not in terms an an actual balance sheet asset, but certainly a potential liability that has (by their own admonition) contributed greatly to rising programming expenses.  I'm far from an expert on corporate accounting, but I think there is a parsing of words here that wreaks of BS. 
“Obviously everyone is waiting to see what happens in the larger-scale corporate dealings. Failing that, I know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, a lot of talk – but, no, I’m not aware of anything that’s going to bring about an imminent settlement. We hope and we keep working at it. But I don’t have any news.”
Verdugo stands out for several reasons. Not only will he be just 19 years old this season when he heads to Class-A Great Lakes, but he hit .353/.432/.511 across two levels after being drafted last summer. While Mitchell noted in his research that walks are less important in the lower level of the minors, it’s still an impressive feat that Verdugo walked more times (20) than he struck out (18) in his professional debut. He also flashed above-average speed for a prospect of his size, going a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts.
Like I’ve been saying, I’m just going to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing and making sure the guys I’m catching, I’m on the same page with. I think last year I did a pretty good job with those new guys that came up to the big leagues.”
“Yeah, I collected as a kid but not for value or anything like that.,” said the Houston Astros catcher-outfielder. “My room was actually wallpapered — I stapled cards to my walls. My entire room was completely covered in baseball cards. I loved it.”

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *