Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Full-Squad 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.

(Roberts addressing clubs first full-squad workout, pic via Jon SooHoo on twitter)

NOW WE’RE HERE: The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout this morning, primarily focused on conditioning and team defense.
  • New Dodger skipper Dave Roberts addressed the entire team for the first time today and stressed the importance of getting better every day while keeping focused on the goal and what it’s going to take to get there.
BACK IN BLUE: With the first full squad workout, Dodger fans were able to see the newest-old Dodger, second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick was acquired from the Angels in a three-team trade prior to the 2015 season and went on to hit .295 with nine homers and 54 RBI in 117 games. Following the season, the 32-year-old elected free agency, but remained unsigned into February when the Dodgers pounced and signed him to a two-year deal through 2017. Kendrick has a .293 career batting average with 271 doubles, 87 home runs and 555 RBI in 1,198 games in 10 MLB seasons with the Angels (2006-14) and Dodgers (2015). The 2011 All-Star has a .986 career fielding percentage, appearing primarily at second base, and has hit well in the clutch during the course of his career, posting a .298 batting average with runners in scoring position and a .299 mark with runners on base. The Florida native was originally selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

(AGon batting, pic via Jon SooHoo on twitter)

HE HAS NO MORE ROOM: Tonight, Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be receiving the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Sports Council at the LA Sports Awards in Los Angeles. Scully will be presented the award by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley and the two will engage in a 10-minute conversation on stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The LA Sports Awards are presented annually by the Sports Council to celebrate the greatest Southern California moments of the year in sports.

THE WORLD IS WATCHING: The Dodgers are set to be featured on SportsCenter tomorrow with Tim Kurkjian, Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone anchoring the coverage. As a warm-up, Dodger All-Star Clayton Kershaw sat down for an interview on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter this afternoon. In addition to Kershaw, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will join the show live at 8:15 MT tomorrow morning and the gang is scheduled to tape features with Joc Pederson and Corey Seager as well.
(Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016)

SAY CHEESE: The Dodgers will hold their annual Photo Day Saturday morning, with players showing off their pearly whites for the Dodger team photographers, SNLA, MLB Photos,, MLB International, ESPN the Magazine, Topps, USA Today, Getty Images, Baseball Digest, the LA Times and the Associated Press.
(Roberts signs for fans, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016)

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Welcome to the Dodgers, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Tim Cates!

The Dodgers made a couple announcement this afternoon, but it's not news from the player-side.  Instead, they let us know of a couple new additions to their broadcast staff - one of whom you should already know. I'd like to extend a warm Dodgers Blue Heaven welcome to former Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. (twitter: @tonygwynnjr) and longtime sports broadcaster Tim Cates (twitter: @timcates). 

Tony Gwynn Jr. will join David Vassegh on the postgame Dodger Talk radio show.  This will be Vassegh's fifth season.  Gwynn, son of Hall of Famer Tony, had played two season for the Dodgers starting in 2011, and recorded career numbers in Blue.  In 239 games for the Dodgers he slashed .245/.294/.326/.619.  Check out his stats via Baseball-Reference here.  From a Dodgers press release:
The 33-year-old Gwynn Jr. played eight seasons in the Major Leagues for the Brewers (2006-08), Padres (2009-10), Dodgers (2011-12) and Phillies (2014). In 685 career games, the San Diego native stole 80 bases, including a career-high 22 with Los Angeles in 2011. He had his best year in 2009, hitting .270 with a career-high 106 hits for the Padres.
DodgerTalk can be heard Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. during spring training and following each game beginning with the “Freeway Series” exhibition games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting Friday, March 31 and through the 2016 season.
Tim Cates will host the teams pregame show, Dodgers on Deck, on AM570 LA Sports Radio.  He is an born and raised Angeleno and graduated from UCLA.  Check out a great story about him at here.  Per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
A UCLA graduate, Cates has worked in sports talk radio for almost 20 years, covering the NBA Finals, World Series, Super Bowl and NCAA Final Fours, and serving as a producer, reporter and host on Fox Sports Radio Network and AM 570 LA Sports. Most recently, Cates has hosted UCLA football and basketball pregame and postgame shows, and can also be heard as the studio host for Compass Media Networks coverage of the Oakland Raiders and NCAA football and basketball.
In celebration of them joining the Dodgers I made the above two fantasy Baseball cards.  For the Gwynn Jr. card on the left I using a photo taken by Jon SooHoo during Spring Training in 2013 and the 1964 Topps Baseball card design.  For the Cates card I grabbed a photo taken by Ross A. Benson for a story and the 1968 Topps Baseball card design.

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Some Vintage Dodgers Pins at Hake's Auction

The only collectible better than Baseball cards are Baseball pins, so when I perused Hake's Americana's current auction I was ecstatic to find several buttons I had never seen before.  For instance, check out the above Brooklyn Dodgers pinback.  It features the recognizable Dodgers "Bum" standing on Ebbets Field.  According to the auction listing this pin was only made a year or two before they left town, so it's rather scarce.  Check out the listing here.  It is already priced at $330.00.

The next two pins below feature a couple of eventual Brooklyn Dodgers in Montreal Royals uniforms.  As you know this was the clubs main farmclub in the 1950's. 

These particular pins are only about 1 1/4" in diameter, and it is thought that only nine different players are available.  Below are Don Newcombe and future Hollywood star Chuck Connors.
(Auction Link)
(Auction Link)

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Blog Kiosk 2/25/2016 - Dodgers Links - Turner, Maddux and Vin Scully to Call Opening Day

The legacy of great Dodgers catchers continues unabated.  Featured above is the fearless crew of Dodger backstop currently manning the plate at Camelback Ranch.  Photo via AJ Ellis on twitter and originally taken by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016.  Top Row: L to R - Steve Yeager, Kyle Farmer, Jack Murphy, AJ Ellis and Bob Geren.  Bottom Row: L to R - Austin Barnes, Shawn Zarraga and Yasmani Grandal.

Below are more links to check out:

“We're going to keep [Turner] over at third base,” (Dave) Roberts said. “Things can change, but I don't see us deviating from that.”
"I think the main thing is to try to help the players," Maddux said. "Obviously, I have to get to know them first, and they have to get to know you. I’ll just watch the players and get to know them. If there’s something I can say or do that might make them better, that’s the goal -- to try to make the players better."
Don’t be shocked if the Dodgers part ways with Carl Crawford and eat the remaining $42 million on his contract. There comes a point of diminishing returns — and a time to fill his roster spot with a younger, more productive player — and it seems the Dodgers are getting closer to that point.
“We’re excited to have him back, second year removed from Tommy John he said that he feels great, the ball’s coming out,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He’s got a great look in his eye, he really does, and I don’t think he’s too concerned about the mechanics of the 40 or not, he just wants to stay healthy and compete and pitch well. And so I think that things always have a way of working themselves out so that’s our number one concern.”

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