Back from the Road – Roy Smith
I just finished an 11-day trip which included stops in Jacksonville, Vero Beach and our complex in the Dominican Republic. The Jacksonville club couldn’t have been hotter, as they were in the midst of a 10-game winning streak which clinched the first half division title for them. Some standouts included Andy Laroche and right-hander Joel Hanrahan, who were both promoted to Triple-A while I was there. Second baseman Tony Abreu and shorstop Chin-Lung Hu are providing outstanding defense up the middle for the Suns, as well as Mark Alexander and Casey Hoorelbeke, who are an formidable one-two punch out of the bullpen. Manager John Shoemaker, pitching coach Danny Darwin and hitting coach Mike Easler did a great job in leading the team to their first half title.
Single-A Vero Beach has had its struggles, but there are good signs. Scott Elbert pitched very well while I was there with Xavier Paul, Blake Dewitt and Cory Dunlap providing the offense.
Dodger Vice President Craig Callan accompanied me on a trip to the Dominican, where went over issues concerning the running of our facility as well as observing a workout of young players directed by head of international scouting and longtime Dodger executive Ralph Avila. Overall it was a very fulfilling trip.
On another note, today we will be hosting our first pick in the recent First-Year Player Draft, left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7th overall) as well as shortstop Preston Mattingly, who was our third selection (31st overall). We look forward to welcoming them to the organization and getting them started on their path to Dodger Stadium.