May 2006

Today's lineup

For today’s game, we’ll have:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Aybar, 3B

Ethier, LF

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Tomko, P

Kent is still having trouble swinging a bat and he told Fred Roggin on the air a few minutes ago that he’s going to have an MRI tomorrow to see if there are any worse problems in there that we can’t tell from an examination by the trainers.

To enter the contest to win four baseline seats by guessing the Dodgers’ first three draft choices, click here.

Draft Day Coming Up

First off, the name to know for today:

Tony Abreu, Double-A Jacksonville: Went 2-for-4 with a homer yesterday. He came to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee with us after winning the Florida State League batting title last year with a .330 mark.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Luke Hochevar and our decision not to sign him. While I can understand that our fans are frustrated that we basically didn’t get a first-round pick last year, I can also vividly remember Logan White saying last year at the time of the draft that this was a real possibility. The reason Hochevar fell to us in the draft was because teams were unsure of whether or not he’d be willing to sign and though we were hopeful we could work something out, it just wasn’t meant to be.

As it turned out, Ned Colletti and his staff decided that it just wasn’t worth the $4 million asking price. We all believe that we made a fair offer and at the end of the day, Ned’s belief is that if it’s all about the money before you ever reach the big leagues, it will always be about the money. As you’ve seen, there’s been a real push towards team goals here and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out with Hochevar.

In the meantime, we’re going to take up one of the reader’s suggestions about the upcoming draft. Fans can list their guesses on our first three picks (we choose seventh, 25th and 31st) in the comments section of this post. The person who gets closest to getting it right will get four of our new baseline seats, which were installed this offseason, for an upcoming game. This is one of the coolest ways to see a game and the value of the seats is more than $250, so make sure you do your homework on the draft. Plus, it’ll make draft day that much more exciting.

All entries must be in by the time the draft starts and each person can only have one entry. Good luck!

Today's lineup

We have activated Eric Gagne and optioned Oscar Robles to Las Vegas. Eric will sit out the next two games on suspension from last season (he was on the DL earlier this year, so he wasn’t able to serve the suspension previously).

For today, we’ve got:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Aybar, 3B

Ethier, LF

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Sele, P

A name you should know

I had said last week that I’d try and highlight a minor league performance each day so that fans can get more info on our prospects. You might have heard of this guy:

Eric Gagne, SV, 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 17 pitches, 11 strikes (Triple-A Las Vegas)

Welcome back to the Jungle, writes Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, who spent Memorial Day at Cashman Field in Las Vegas with the Dodger closer.

Though he has not been activated yet, all signs are pointing to Eric being back at the start of the homestand on Thursday and appearing in his first big league game since June 12 of last year when he saved a game against the Twins despite having a sprained ligament in his right elbow.

The incredible thing? It was actually his 18th consecutive save converted, a streak he retains entering this season. Over the past four seasons, his ERA is 1.83, the best among all Major Leaguers with 200 or more innings…not too shabby.

And, if you can’t wait until Thursday to watch Gagne play, tune into the Golf Channel tonight to see him, Derek Lowe, Brett Tomko and Kenny Lofton take part in the Big Break All-Star Challenge, which was filmed back in Spring Training. Not only will it give you a glimpse at the four guys off the field, but each also earned money for charity – The Dodgers Dream Foundation (Lowe), Mattel Children’s Hospital (Gagne), Alzheimer’s Association (Lofton) and the Florida Southern Baseball Program (Tomko).

Today's lineup

J.D. Drew is back in the lineup but Jeff Kent is still out. It’s getting closer to looking normal again (plus Gagne throws tonight in Vegas!)

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Garciaparra, 1B

Drew, RF

Kemp, LF

Aybar, 3B

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Penny, P

Dodgers recall Kemp

Today’s lineup is quite a bit different than yesterday’s – pellam.1@osu.edu guessed right yesterday, as we’ve optioned Lance Carter back to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled outfielder Matt Kemp from Double-A Jacksonville.

Furcal, SS; Cruz, RF; Nomar, 1B; Saenz, 3B; Aybar, 2B; Kemp, CF; Ethier, LF, Martin, C; Seo, P

KempI haven’t seen him play since spring, but from his numbers, you can tell Kemp was really struggling – .327 average (3rd in Southern League), seven homers, 34 RBI (tied with Andy LaRoche for the league lead), 65 hits (leads the league), 38 runs (leads the league) 11 stolen bases, a .528 slugging percentage and .402 OBP in 48 games for the Suns.

I had a feeling this could happen a few weeks ago when Kim Ng came back from a trip to see some of our minor league teams and was raving about how exciting Matt is as a player. She didn’t say that he was coming up soon, but I got the sense that she was impressed, as is just about anyone that watches him play these days.

It’s also pretty funny to think that when we got to Spring Training, three guys were lockered next to one another in the non-roster/minor league side of the clubhouse – Saito, Ethier and Kemp. The two kids nicknamed Saito "Sammy." They all went about their business professionally and before June 1, all three were in the big leagues. Not too shabby.

Today's game

For today’s nationally televised game on FOX, we’ll have:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Aybar, 3B

Ethier, LF

Cruz, RF

Martin, C

Lowe, P

Scouting and the Draft

Staying with the scouting theme, starting Monday, scouting director Logan White and his staff will be at Dodger Stadium preparing for the June 6 First-Year Player Draft. During that time, Logan will go through the painstaking process of putting together “the board,” which is a preferential listing of all of the high school and college players that we would consider drafting.

In order to arrive at that list, Logan and his staff go over each player in detail with the area scout who originally filed a report, any cross checker who may have seen the player, look at any video of the player, review the player’s medical history and determine the player’s willingness to sign. In the end there will be about 600 names on the board. From those names, we will wind up drafting as many as 50 players, which is as many rounds as the draft goes now.

It is a very monotonous and tiring process and will take every bit of the eight days leading up to the draft. The way Logan has structured his staff, he has himself, special advisor Gib Bodet and Tim Hallgren who serve as national cross checkers, which means they see as many of the top players nationally as possible.

In addition we have three regional cross checkers — Tom Thomas in the West, Gary Nichols in the Midwest and John Barr in the East. All of these men will be with Logan the entire time here in LA. This is a particularly experienced group, as Hallgren, Nichols and Barr are former scouting directors.

Ned Colletti, Kim Ng, and myself also take part. In addition, farm director Terry Collins will arrive around draft day to lend support and also advise Logan on the farm system’s needs as we get down to the end of the draft. Often Logan will bring in some area scouts to take part in the process so that they can experience what the draft room is like.

I have taken part in many drafts both as an area scout and as an assistant GM, yet I am always impressed with the amount of information that a scouting director must process in order to conduct a draft. In Logan, we feel like we have one of the best.      

Roy

——-

Today’s L.A. Times has an interesting article by Steve Henson about the Dodgers’ theories when it comes to the First-Year Player Draft.

And, for those who can’t wait until June 1 to see another game at Dodger Stadium or want to scout a high school game, you can come down tomorrow at 2:30, when the City Section Championship game will be played between Chatsworth and Kennedy. 

Chatsworth is currently ranked sixth in the nation by Baseball America and just happens to be my alma mater, where my old baseball coach Tom Meusborn, is still leading the nationally renowned program.

Josh

L.A. Times (in education)

If seven straight wins and listening to Vin doesn’t make you a Dodger fan, I’m not sure what will. Outside of the cheap shots taken at Tommy Lasorda and the McCourts, the story in today’s L.A. Times by Mike Penner was an enjoyable read and does remind us how lucky we are to have had Vin Scully talking to us all these years.

As for the sports section, the news coverage certainly seems to be about a team that just swept a six-game homestand for the first time in 12 years and won for the 15th time in the last 18 games, but Page 2 is the exception on this day.

T.J. Simers is back, now that the Clippers and Lakers are done, which means more fun for us in the coming months. And while I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, this is definitely a first for me. Today I got dubbed Nomar’s "man-servant," which definitely got a chuckle out of me and quite a laugh out of my wife. She probably agrees with T.J.

However, as Nomar’s humble servant, I must disagree with the assessment in today’s paper. The truth is, though he might not be willing to trade barbs with T.J. for the sake of selling newspapers, Nomar has quite a personality. Since May 5 when I posted a blog about him showing quite a bit of leadership in the clubhouse, the team has gone 15-3 and Nomar has the second-best average in all of baseball, batting .438  with 21 RBI. Yet it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to be the center of attention.

How do I know this? Because he’s told me so. The truth is that while he actually has exactly the type of personality that plays great with the media when he wants to, he really doesn’t want to. After a recent victory in Coors Field, the beat writers all gathered around him and tried to get him to talk about everything that he’s done during this hot streak and how he is carrying the team. He spit out a bunch of cliches and tried to deflect attention to his teammates for more than 10 minutes before they finally realized he wasn’t going to take credit for what has been accomplished.

A few minutes later, I was sitting on the bus back to the team hotel and he came over to talk to me. All he said was, "In case you can’t tell, I really don’t like to talk about myself." And that was it.

Nomar_cat_in_the_hatMeanwhile, I’m guessing the kids that spent time with Nomar and Kenny Lofton at Eric Gagne’s bowling event earlier this month probably had no problem getting to see their favorite players’ personalities. And even though the event was partially benefiting T.J.’s favorite charity, the Mattel Children’s Hospital, he was nowhere to be found when a dozen of our players were out in the community.

Yesterday, we made it even easier. Eric Gagne and Frank McCourt went to the L.A. Times building to spend time with the winners of the Times In Education 2006 Team Think Blue Program, which promotes literacy and creative thinking. They spent two hours at a luncheon hosted by the L.A. Times, chatting with the kids who had won the essay and art contests. But no one saw T.J. there either and there was no mention of it in today’s story.

Mccourt_and_gagne_lat_luncheonHere’s my solution. With a readership of hundreds of thousands of people, T.J. has a chance to really make a difference with what he writes. So from now through the end of the season, for every Dodger community event that T.J. comes to cover for his paper, I’m going to personally donate $50 to the Mattel Children’s Hospital. There’s plenty of them left, so this could cost me quite a bit, but it’s worth it. My wife has even signed off on it, but she wants to make sure that it’s T.J. who comes to cover the event, not his radio co-host/daughter.

In fact, I’ll make it easy by giving a list of dates for some of the upcoming events.

June 2        Clinic at the Compton Academy
June 8        Boys & Girls Club Renovation
June 20-23  Baseball Camp benefiting the Dodgers Dream Foundation
July 27       Dodger Golf Tournament
Aug. 9        Children’s Hospital of LA Visit

These are just some of the events, but more information can be found in the community section of the Dodgers’ web site. I’ll make sure he knows about every event and keep you all posted on how many he comes out to write about. If any of you would like to make donations to Mattel Children’s Hospital or the Dodgers Dream Foundation (or any charity, for that matter), feel free to join in the fun.

In the meantime, enjoy a small break from baseball today. We’ll be right back at it again tomorrow.

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Kent, 2B

Aybar, 3B

Cruz, LF

Martin, C

Sele, P

The team has won a season-high six consecutive games, during which they’ve outscored their opponents, 48-11. They’ve won eight of their last nine and 14 of their last 17 games to raise their record to 26-20, the first time they have been six games over .500 since May 14, 2005 when they were 21-15.

Also, the team has not swept a six-game homestand since May 9-15, 1994 when it took three games from the Astros and Padres at Dodger Stadium. Last year, the Dodgers had a five-game homestand sweep over the Giants and Padres from April 12-17.

Equally as impressive is that the Dodgers have won their last six series dating back to May 5. This marks the first time they’ve won six straight series since June 29-July 20, 2004.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.