It was a quiet morning in Vero Beach in the Major League clubhouse because the Dodgers play host to the New York Mets in a night game at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach. The Dodger players won’t report to the clubhouse until 3 p.m. Brett Tomko is scheduled to oppose New York’s Steve Trachsel. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, there will be green-colored bases and the players will wear green "LA" caps.
But the minor league complex was busy Friday morning as team photographer Jon SooHoo and minor league administrator Chris Haydock conducted the annual "photo day." A conga-line of ballplayers and coaches stretched along the hallway adjacent to the minor leaue clubhouse beginning at 7 a.m. The minor leaguers wear blue-colored mesh Dodger jerseys for their workouts, but for the official mug shot, they chose from four different-sized white home uniform tops, the same "look" as the big leaguers’ photo day on March 1. Each held a piece of paper with their last name to identify the subject, followed by a few more frames without the paper. These photos are used to supply other publications, such as Baseball America, or if a player’s hometown newspaper calls looking for the latest photo of the particular player.
… Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is expected to arrive this afternoon. Broadcaster Steve Lyons and his father, Richard, arrived during Thursday’s game in Vero Beach. Also in camp today is the family of Dodger bench coach Dave Jauss: wife Billie, sons D.J., Charley and Will.
… And a Happy 35th Birthday to Dodger third baseman Bill Mueller.
On Wednesday, I was part of a delegation of Dodger officials, lead by Frank and Jamie McCourt, who flew to the Dominican Republic to tour our baseball academy Campo Las Palmas, which is located in the town of Guerra. The purpose of the trip was to affirm our commitment to maintaining our presence in the Dominican, commemorate Campo Las Palmas’ 20th year as our baseball academy and announce that Ralph Avila, who had worked as a consultant to baseball operations the last four years, would be taking on a greater role this year by overseeing our Latin American scouting efforts.
Campo Las Palmas was founded in 1987 and is truly unique in that not only is it beautiful with its trees and flowers, it also has 15 acres of farm and agricultural land to grow food for the academy. It also maintains livestock. It was Ralph Avila who in his then role as Vice President/Latin American Operations who designed and built the academy. Campo Las Palmas has been rated as the No. 1 facility in the Dominican annually since then. Eliadoro Arias, who currently runs the camp, took us on a tour of the grounds along with Ralph, filling us in on the history and some of the unique features. We then moved to the cafeteria where Eliodoro, Ralph, Frank and Ned Colletti addressed a large contingent of sports writers and television crews. Mr. McCourt also announced a $20,000 donation to Futoro Vivo, which is a school for underprivileged children which lies adjacent to our complex and which the Dodgers have traditionally helped support.
After the press conference, we took a tour of the school which was truly impressive. I was very proud of our organization for the contribution we made to the school. Guerra is a very poor town and without Futoro Vivo many of these children, who are the poorest of the poor, would have nothing.
All in all it was a very memorable day and one which I was especially proud to be a Dodger.
Here is the Dodgers’ starting lineup for this afternoon’s game with the visiting Florida Marlins at Holman Stadium:
Kenny Lofton, CF; Nomar Garciaparra, 1B; J.D. Drew, RF; Jeff Kent, 2B; Joel Guzman, LF; Bill Mueller, 3B; Sandy Alomar Jr., C; Oscar Robles, SS; Aaron Sele, P.
Congratulations to Dodger right-hander Brett Tomko, whose uniform number 35 was retired by Florida Southern College last night at Henley Field in Lakeland, FL, home field of the FSC Moccasins, the defending NCAA Division II National Champions.
In 1995, Tomko won NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year honors, going 15-2 with a 1.35 ERA. He struck out 154 batters in 126 innings.
"It’s my first trip back (to FSC) in 11 years," Tomko said after the jersey retirement ceremony. "It’s been strange to go around the campus and see the field and relive a little bit of how it was in college. But it’s definitely been a fun day."
On having his jersey retired: "I would have never thought anything like this could’ve happened when I was here. It’s a great honor and a great feeling. It’s definitely been a blessing."
The Dodgers have the day off today, except for right-hander Derek Lowe, who will pitch a minor league at Dodgertown this morning. Los Angeles travels to Orlando tomorrow to face the Atlanta Braves.
NOTES: The players and coaches from the 2005 Jacksonville Suns will receive their championship rings from Jacksonville team president Peter Bragan on Friday. They will also be honored at Dodgertown during the Western-theme dinner on Thursday night. … Television producer Rob Menschel is spending the day with Dodger minor league infielder Jamie Hoffman as part of his "Day in the Life of Vero Beach" one-hour special, which will air later this month on Fox. Menschel already has filmed several locations in town, along with other behind-the-scenes baseball footage …
Congratulations to team physician Dr. Frank Jobe for being included in The Sporting News’ list of "the 120 most coolest numbers in sports history" to commemorate the publication’s 120th anniversary. The magazine lists "288 – Career victories by Tommy John; 164 – Victories by Tommy John after ulnar collateral ligament transplant surgery by Dr. Frank Jobe; 1,128 – Tommy John surgeries Dr. James Andrews performed from 1988 to October 2005."
… Jobe’s revolutionary surgerical procedure, an experiment when first attempted on the Dodger left-hander during the 1974 season, should one day earn Jobe induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame for his medical contributions to the sport.
Country music singer Kenny Rogers will appear in a concert at Dodgertown on April 1 with proceeds to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County. The event is sponsored by the Dodgers, Comcast, Marine Bank, Buyer’s Agent/DiMarzo Realty, and the Indian River County Press Journal. Gates open at 6 p.m., the concert begins at 8 p.m. and $39 general admission tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, including FYE in the Indian River County Mall and at Marine Bank locations on Beachland Boulevard and on U.S. 1 in Vero Beach. For more information call (772) 231-6990.
Here is the Dodgers’ starting lineup for their game against the Boston Red Sox at Fort Myers:
Willy Aybar, 3B; Jason Repko, RF; Andre Ethier, CF; Joel Guzman, LF; Matt Kemp, DH; James Loney, 1B; Russell Martin, C; Oscar Robles, SS; Pedro Martinez, 2B. Starting pitcher – D.J. Houlton.
Dodger outfield prospect Andre Ethier attempted to steal two bases on Sunday against Houston during the Dodgers’ 7-0 victory at Holman Stadium. Ethier stole second in the second inning and took off again from first base in the fourth inning, preventing a force play at second when Sandy Alomar Jr. hit a grounder to third base. With the Oakland Athletics’ Double-A Midland team in 2005, Ethier stole one base in five attempts while batting .319 in 131 games with 18 home runs and 80 RBI. The Texas League Player of the Year was acquired by the Dodgers last December 13 in a trade for outfielder Milton Bradley.
Joining an organization with more emphasis on the stolen base, Ethier has been working with Dodger baserunning instructor Maury Wills on taking a bigger lead at first base. Wills would rather have a runner get picked off at first base with a proper lead rather than get thrown out at second with too short of a lead. Another former Spring Training pupil of Wills’ was former non-roster outfielder Dave Roberts, who made the team coming out of Florida camp in 2002 and played 2 ½ seasons in Los Angeles.
Ethier will make the road trip tomorrow when the Dodgers face the Boston Red Sox at Fort Myers. The team bus leaves Dodgertown at 7 a.m.
Dodgertown is now up to full capacity as our minor league camp started its third day of full squad workouts. Farm Director Terry Collins addressed the entire camp on Friday morning and outlined our objectives as an organization. Terry pointed out that not only did our minor league players receive national notice over the winter, six members of our minor league staff are now members of big league staffs. We replaced the coaches with such notable ex-major leaguers as Danny Darwin, Lance Parish, Bill Robinson, Richie Lewis and Mike Easler. Following Terry, Tommy Lasorda spoke for about 20 minutes. It was a fiery speech in which Tommy reminded the players of the Dodger tradition and the importance of giving it your all as only Tommy can. Owner Frank McCourt spoke yesterday and Ned Colletti talked to the players today. As I said, the activity here in Vero is at full blast and it is an exciting time.
Here are today’s lineups for the Orioles vs. Dodgers at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach:
BALTIMORE: Eric Bruntlett, 2B; Mike Lamb, 1B; Jason Lane, RF; Kevin Orie, 3B; Ben Zobrist, SS; Luke Scott, LF; Humberto Quintero, C; Raul Chavez, DH; Josh Anderson, CF. Starting pitcher – Taylor Buchholz.
LOS ANGELES: Tony Abreu, SS; Nomar Garciaparra, 1B; J.D. Drew, RF; Jeff Kent, 2B; Olmedo Saenz, DH; Bill Mueller, 3B; Matt Kemp, 3B; Andre Ethier, LF; Sandy Alomar Jr., C. Starting pitcher – Brett Tomko.