Friday, March 16, 2012

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training- Day 24

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.

Texas Rangers (3-8-1) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (7-3-2)

Friday, March 16, 2012 – 1:05 p.m., Camelback Ranch

LHP Ted Lilly vs. RHP Greg Reynolds

Spring Game 13/Home Game 6

Todays Starting Lineup:
Dodgers: Gordon SS, Ellis 2B, Kemp CF, Ethier RF, Rivera LF, Loney 1B, Uribe 3B, A.Ellis C, Lilly P
Rangers: CF Julio Borbon, RF David Murphy, DH Mike Napoli, 1B Brad Hawpe, LF Conor Jackson, 3B Brandon Snyder, C Luis Martinez, SS Alberto Gonzalez, 2B Yangervis Solarte
Upcoming Spring Training Schedule:

(Reflecting Matt Kemp, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)
  • LONESTAR REMATCH: The Dodgers play their second and final game of the Cactus League season against the Rangers this afternoon at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Back on March 9, Los Angeles trounced Texas in Surprise by a final score of 9-0. The two clubs haven’t met in the regular season since 2009, when the Dodgers took two-of-three in Arlington. Los Angeles holds an 11-9 advantage in their all-time regular season meetings.

  • LEFTY TRIO: The Dodgers’ starting rotation consists of three left-handed pitchers and today, 14-year veteran Ted Lilly takes the hill for his third start of the spring. Lilly was sharp in his last outing, allowing one hit and one walk over 3.0 scoreless innings last Sunday vs. the Cubs. In 2011, Lilly was 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA over 33 starts, including victories in five of his last six starts. Over the season’s last two months, his .169 opponents’ batting average was the best in baseball. Lilly will be followed to the mound by:

    ● LHP Wilfredo Ledezma tossed 2.0 scoreless innings in his last outing on Monday at the Angels. The 31-year-old left-hander has allowed one run over three appearances this spring. Last year, Ledezma was in the Blue Jays’ organization and made five appearances in the Major Leagues.

    ● LHP Scott Elbert has not pitched in a Cactus League game since March 10 and has not yielded a run in his two spring games this March. Elbert posted a 2.43 ERA last season, which ranked him 20th among all NL relievers (min. 45 games).

    ● RHP Kenley Jansen has also tossed 2.0 scoreless innings this spring and will make his third appearance this afternoon. In 2011, Jansen averaged 16.10 strikeouts per nine innings, which is the highest in single-season history (min. 50.0 IP).

    ● RHP Javy Guerra saved 21 games in his rookie campaign (21-for-23), which tied him with Yhency Brazoban for the second most by a rookie in Dodger history, trailing just Takashi Saito (24, 2006). The Texas native last pitched on March 10 vs. the White Sox.

(Clayton Kershaw receiving the Sportsman of the Year Award last night, via twitter @Dodgers)

  • OH WHAT A NIGHT: Yesterday, National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw flew back to Los Angeles with his wife, Ellen, to receive the 2011 Sportsman of the Year award at the seventh annual LA Sports Awards. In addition to Kershaw’s honor, the Dodgers also were involved in two of the Top-10 moments for 2011. Kershaw’s Cy Young Award-winning season was No. 2, while Matt Kemp’s MVP runner-up campaign was the No. 4 Los Angeles sports moment in 2011.

  • HOMESICK: The Dodgers fell to 2-3 at Camelback Ranch – Glendale yesterday, dropping an 8-5 decision to the Kansas City Royals. Infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. went 2-for-2 with two runs scored in the losing effort while Ivan De Jesus was 3-for-3 with two RBI. On the mound, starter Chad Billingsley allowed just one run in 3.2 innings.

(Don Newcombe and Matt Kemp, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)

  • ALL EARS ON NEWK: Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe addressed the entire team this morning for nearly an hour. Newcombe will throw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the sold out Dodgers-Giants game tomorrow night.

  • GOING NATIONAL: MLB Network’s 30-in-30 series visited Camelback Ranch the last two days and their special on the Dodgers will air tomorrow. Intentional Talk with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar was on-site today and relief pitcher Todd Coffey joined the guys on their set from the left-center field berm. Over the last two days, MLB Net caught up with Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Ted Lilly, Javy Guerra and Dodger skipper Don Mattingly.

  • HOT TICKET!: The Dodgers’ home games at Camelback Ranch-Glendale tomorrow and Sunday, have sold out. The Dodgers will face the San Francisco Giants at 7 05 p.m. tomorrow (followed by fireworks sponsored by Salt River Project) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday in front of capacity crowds.

  • BATTING CHAMPION IN THE HOUSE: The Dodgers would like to legendary outfielder Tommy Davis, who arrives this afternoon at Camelback Ranch. Davis is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his historic 1962 campaign, when he hit .346 with 27 homers and a Dodger single-season record 153 RBI. In addition to leading the Majors in RBI that season, Davis won a batting title and led the National League with 230 hits.

(Spring fever, pic via Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)

Blog Kiosk: 3/16/2012

Watching Clayton Kershaw's bullpen session, pic via twitter @Dodgers.
  • LA Blue Crew put up a bunch of pics from his visit to Camelback Ranch for some Spring Training Baseball.
  • Dave Fleming at Bill James Online wonders aloud if James Loney could break out to lead the NL in home runs this year. Could he be a modern version of the Big Klu? (Hat Tip: Baseball Musings)
    Kluszewski and Loney both reached the majors at twenty-two. Both were highly touted prospects, though they reached the majors through different channels. Kluszewski, a star tight-end for the University of Indiana, sort of lucked into the majors: a groundskeeper employed by the Reds witnessed Kluszewski hitting baseballs, and passed his name along to upper management. Like a few others of his era, Kluszewski was a football player who played baseball.
    Loney, in contrast, was a baseball player through-and-through. In high school, he hit .509, and as a pitcher averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning pitched. He was a first-round selection in the draft (19th overall). At twenty-two, he hit .380 in AAA ball.
  • The Baseball Professor predicts that Dee Gordon will steal 70 bases. On the other hand, some ESPN fantasy experts think he'll be back in the minors by mid-season (via Vin Scully is My Homeboy).
  • Here is a great story at Big League Stew about Jerry Hairston's attempt to blow the ball foul yesterday.
  • Via Beckett Blog they introduce us to OYO Sports Toys. These are Lego compliant Baseball figures of your favorite teams and stars. See the Matt Kemp below. Ethier, Kershaw, Loney and a general Dodger player are also available. On top of that , according to Beckett you can have one made of yourself. Read the Beckett story for more.
  • I wish they made these while I was in college. My room would have looked awesome. Walls 360 partners with Topps to make some cool wall graphics of vintage Baseball (and other sports) packs and various other non-sports drawings (including Mars Attacks!). Check out information here and here.
  • I am so envious. Collector's Crack nails down a Robin Yount autograph at Spring Training.
  • This is the first I've heard of this. Here is a trailer for a documentary called "Blue Revolution" that focuses on fan efforts to oust Frank McCourt. More background can be found here. Apparently, there is a screening happening soon of the finished product. I'll provide details when I get them.

Video Link:

Collection: Ismael Valdez Donruss Signature

I've always thought this came from a weird set. This is a 1998 Donruss Signatures Series autographed card of former Dodgers starter Ismael Valdez. This was released at a time when I was out of the card collecting hobby, so I don't know much about it. From what I gather it was a autograph heavy set, and that is all I know.

Valdez had a couple of really good years with the Dodgers. He won 16 games in 1996, and won at least 10 games in four straight season from 1995 to 1998. Then, Valdez hit a wall and was traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. His time in Chicago didn't last long, though. Half way through the year he was traded back to LA just in time to show his teeth against his former club. I'll let Wikipedia tell the story.
On August 27, 2000, Valdes was pitching for the Dodgers and was ejected from a game after he was accused of retaliating and throwing pitches at the head of Cubs first baseman (and Valdes' former teammate) Mark Grace. The incident began in the top of the fifth inning when Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood yielded the second of two home runs to the Dodgers' Bruce Aven. Wood then threw a pitch close to the next batter, Alex Cora, on the first pitch after Aven's second home run. Wood denied that he was trying to hit Cora, but in the bottom of the fifth, Valdes came close to hitting Grace on the first pitch, drawing a warning from home plate umpire Mark Wegner. Then, four pitches later, Valdes hit Grace on the shoulder, and was ejected.[1] In September 2000, Frank Robinson, major league baseball's head of on-field discipline, suspended Valdes for six games and fined him $1,000 for the incident. Valdes initially appealed, but several days later dropped his appeal and began serving his suspension.
I don't remember him being a tough pitcher. In fact, I always thought he was kind of meek. Anyway, I guess Valdez wanted to break that perception. Of course, maybe it was a bit of roid-rage. Years later he was named in the Mitchell report as a recipient of HGH.

2012 Topps Heritage- Dodgers Base Cards

This was another big week for Baseball card collectors. Just a couple of days ago Topps officially released their 2012 Heritage set that emulates the vintage 1963 Topps set. There are plenty of Dodgers represented in it. Check out all of the Dodgers base cards below.

I plan on picking up some packs over the weekend, so I'll be sure to share what I get then. I might even try to take a video of the break.

1 NL Batting Leaders - Kemp, Reyes, Braun, Pence, Votto
3 NL Home Run Leaders - Kemp, Fielder, Pujols, Uggla, Stanton

5 NL ERA Leaders - Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Vogelsong, Lincecum
9 NL Strikeout Leaders - Kershaw, Lee, Halladay, Lincecum, Gallardo
105 James Loney

123 Andre Ethier
150 Hiroki Kuroda
154 Don Mattingly - Mgr.

196 Tim Federowicz - RC

210 Clayton Kershaw
261 Javy Guerra

Matt Kemp has a short print in the set. Directly below is the normal Heritage card for him, but below that is the short printed variation with the photos flipped.

279 Matt Kemp
310 Jerry Sands
360 Chad Billingsley

363 Aaron Harang

411 Nathan Eovaldi

412 Dodgers Big Three - Kemp, Ethier, Kershaw
427 Dee Gordon SP

431 Jerry Hairston Jr. SP

439 Aaron Miles SP