Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Welcome to the Blue, Chin-Hui Tsao!

This is a rather incredible feat.  A ballplayer who last played in the Majors some eight years ago will now step into the Dodger clubhouse.  It has just been announced, although anticipated all day, that right-handed relief pitcher Chin-Hui Tsao will join the club today.  Additionally, Josh Ravin also joins him.  Ian Thomas and Yimi Garcia have been sent to AAA.

Via a Dodger press release:
Tsao will be making his first appearance in the big leagues since 2007 and has gone 2-1 with five saves and a 3.86 ERA in 21 games this year with Oklahoma City. In 50 MLB games (eight starts) with the Rockies (2003-05) and Dodgers (2007), Tsao went 4-4 with four saves with a 5.40 ERA.
As you will recall, the Dodgers took a gamble on Tsao by inviting him to Spring Training this year - even while knowing about his involvement in a game fixing scheme in Taiwan in 2009 and a reported banning from the Chinese Professional Baseball League.  Still, he was said to be able to throw in the mid-90's, and that was probably good enough to give him a look.  Word is the commissioner gave the Dodgers the go ahead to sign him.

Fortunately, the Dodgers bet appears to be paying off.  He was fantastic during the Spring, and earned a spot within the Dodgers system.  Yasmani Grandal said this about him in March, via Ken Gurnick at
"First time I ever saw him," said catcher Yasmani Grandal. "He gives me a lot of options. He has a back-door breaking ball. And I didn't know he threw that hard."
In 25 appearances in Oklahoma City and Tulsa he struck out 39 batters in 30.2 innings of work.  He had also walked only five batters total.  If he maintains these kind of numbers while in Los Angeles he just might become a fixture on the club.

In celebration of Tsao's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo taken by Jon SooHoo during Spring Training and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

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Dodger Goodies at Goldin's NSCC Auction

Goldin Auctions is holding their own National Sports Collectors Convention auction and it includes a couple of notable Dodger memorabilia items.  Check them out below.

Below is a large (64" x 222") three panel triptych oil painting by Andy Jurinko.  Go here to check out the auction and more details pics. As you can see, it features an afternoon game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium, and represents an actual game played on May 30, 1987.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers got shut out that day, 3-0, by Kevin Gross.  BTW, Orel Hershier started the game and is shown on the mound in the painting.  Also Luis Aguayo is at the plate and Juan Samuel is on the on-deck circle.

Per the auction description:
The painter, Andy Jurinko, a lifelong basebball fan, who died of pancreatic cancer on Feb. 14, 2011, was a noted sports artist. His paintings are in great demand by fine art collectors, have been showcased in galleries and museums across the country, including the Baseball Hall of fame in Cooperstown, Ohio, on the covers of more than 20 books, and have been featured in such publications as Sports Illustrated, The New York Magazine, Barron's and the New York Times.

I thought this next it was really cool.  Here is the Brooklyn Cyclones jersey worn by Dodger great Duke Snider when he threw out a first pitch on July 24, 2002.  It has been signed.  Check out the auction here.

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Pedro Baez on Thursday

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


Here's a free autograph appearance featuring Dodger reliever Yimi Garcia Pedro Baez tomorrow, Thursday, July 9th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at a Walmart in Baldwin Park.  Go here for information.

UPDATE:  Yimi has just been sent down to AAA, so I am uncertain if he'll be here to sign on Thursday.

UPDATE IIAccording to the Dodgers twitter account Pedro Baez will take Yimi's place at Walmart.

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Blog Kiosk: 7/8/2015 - Dodger Links - Newcombe, Pierre and Tsao

Yasiel Puig is seen taking batting practice underneath the confines of Dodger Stadium before yesterday's game.  Considering the tough go he's had at it lately, he no doubt needed it.  My question, though, is who is the little tyke on the bottom left of the photo?  Ain't he in mortal danger of getting a ball fouled back towards him?  Tough guy, that kid is.

The above photo via Jon SooHoo/LA DodgersGo here to check out more pics from him from yesterday's game.  Below are some links to check out:
Juan Pierre, who memorably accompanied his retirement announcement with the amusing lament that while he had 18 career home runs, he wished he had 20, was lighthearted Monday responding to my tweet that he had been the only position player in Dodger history to start in the No. 9 slot in the batting order after the pitcher.
"I think [trainer] Stan [Conte] has a plan mapped out for him to be playing through the break so they have the same time off that we do," Mattingly said. "Then we can see where he's at."
"He gives me a lot of options to play with, whether it's backdoor breaking balls, cutters inside, fastballs up," said catcher Yasmani Grandal in March. "He can bring it too. I didn't know he could bring it that hard."
  • Panini shares some preview picks from their 2015 Immaculate Baseball set; including the Kershaw card on the right.  Go here to see more.
  • Nick Diunte at the tells us about a former Dodger who had recently passed away: "Buddy Hicks, former Detroit Tigers infielder, passes away at 87."
  • Topps newest online exclusive creation is called "Fire" and it's an art print measuring 10"x14" and numbered for only #/49 copies.  Clayton Kershaw and Yasil Puig prints are available.  See them below.  Go here to check them out.  A rare "1 of 1" sepia version were also available, but have already been sold.

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