Friday, February 18, 2011

Auto Collection: LoDuca Playoff Portraits

This is one of the weirder auto cards that I have in my collection. This is a 2003 Donruss Playoff Portraits card of Paul Lo Duca. Usually, a card like this would feature the autograph on the front of the card, but in this instance it takes second billing to a painting portrait of the catcher. The autograph is on the reverse.

Day 2: Spring Training Notes

Here are some of the Day 2 notes from Springing from the Dodgers.
  • BACK TO WORK : On Day 2 of the Dodgers’ 2011 Spring Training camp, pitchers and catchers were up to more of the same. The pitchers broke into groups and fielded bunts, worked on pickoffs and practiced covering first while the catchers hit and worked on defense with a throng of coaches, including former Dodgers Steve Yeager, Manny Mota and Dave Hansen. The camp is being run this season by new Dodger bench coach Trey Hillman, with an assist from bullpen coach Rob Flippo, who is entering his 10th season with the club.
  • SOUTHPAW SCUFFLING: Dodger left-hander Dana Eveland injured his left hamstring while running sprints yesterday and his condition is being described as a significant strain. The Washington native is expected to miss “weeks, not days” according to Dodger Manager Don Mattingly.

  • A CALL TO ARMS: On Day 2 of camp, most of the Dodger hurlers who didn’t throw yesterday tossed bullpens this morning. Right-hander Chad Billingsley became the last member of the rotation to throw a ‘pen and was joined on the mounds by Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay, Travis Schlichting, Jon Link, Lance Cormier, Oscar Villarreal, Roman Colon, Scott Elbert, Luis Vasquez, Javy Guerra and Jon Huber. Dana Eveland, who was injured yesterday and Hong-Chih Kuo, who is working on a different throwing program, are the two Dodger pitchers in camp that have yet to throw a bullpen.

  • SLOWLY BUT SURELY: A few more position players trickled in ahead of the Feb. 21 report date as shortstop Rafael Furcal, new outfield acquisition Tony Gwynn, Jr., James Loney and Jay Gibbons arrived in the Dodger clubhouse today. The quartet then dressed and hit the field for batting practice.

  • AND BABY MAKES FIVE: Dodger third baseman Casey Blake was an early arrival to camp in 2010, but is still back in Indianola, Iowa this morning due to the birth of his fifth child, an as yet to be named baby girl. Blake now has four daughters and his one son, George, was born during Spring Training in 2009 on Mach 27. Congrats Casey!

  • BIRTHDAY BONANZA: It’s a festive day out at Camelback Ranch as three Dodgers are celebrating their birthdays. First up, the venerable Manny Mota turns 73 years young today. Mota, the longest tenured coach in Dodger history, is entering his 32nd season as a Dodger coach and his 42nd year in the organization. Last year’s Roy Campanella Award winner, Jamey Carroll, turns 37 today. Carroll reported to Camelback Ranch on Wednesday and last year led the club with a .379 on-base percentage (min. 100 games) and ranked second among all shortstops with a .986 fielding percentage (min. 60 games). Finally, Dodger Double-A Chattanooga skipper John Valentin is 44 today. The New York native is entering his fourth season with the Dodger organization and will be the hitting coach at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Blog Kiosk: 2/18/2011

WooHoo! Spring is here!
  • Check out Sports Illustrated's presentation of milestone Baseball contracts- going as far back as Honus Wagner.
  • LEAVes of Dodger Blue was on hand to hear Mark Langill, Dodger Historian and Publications Editor, speak on Thursday night.
  • Topps unveils the complete list of 60 "Sparkle" short print variations in 2011 Topps Baseball packs. See the Ethier and Kershaw "Sparkle" cards here and here.
  • Mark Armour at Baseball-Reference has been very active in promoting SABR's Biography Project. SABR members have been working on creating full biographies of every ball player. If you are interested in participating you should check out his post. In the meantime, check out a recent biography I enjoyed reading on Hall of Fame Negro Leaguer Willard Brown.
    On August 13, Willard hit his only homer in the majors, and the first in the American League by a black player. It was an inside-the-parker in the eighth inning off Detroit’s Hal Newhouser; the pinch-hit blow helped the Browns rally after losing a lead in the top of the inning. The aftermath of that homer has become more memorable. Brown had used a bat belonging to outfielder Jeff Heath, but upon Willard’s return to the dugout, Heath smashed the bat against the wall rather than allow Brown to use it again.
  • Check out Andre Ethier at Sundance.

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