Prior to today’s game, the Dodgers will recall James Loney from Triple-A Las Vegas. Loney was leading the Pacific Coast League with a .372 average, the sixth-highest mark in minor league baseball. While with the 51s, he played nine games in the outfield and 74 at first base. He’s basically been getting some playing time at first, left and a little in right field, which is a good thing. With Nomar down for at least a couple more days, this gives us a first baseman/outfielder for now. Betemit will arrive later today and be activated tomorrow, when another move will have to be made to free up a roster spot.
As you might imagine, yesterday was pretty hectic leading up to game time. The team knew that it wanted to activate Tomko (who looked pretty efficient out of the ‘pen), but there was not a spot open. Ned, Kim, Roy and Bill LaJoie were literally on the phone with various clubs, including the Braves, up until about five minutes before first pitch.
I was standing in Ned’s office as the deal was literally getting completed and as soon as it was, he had to hustle downstairs to let Grady know and to inform Danys and Willy about their new homes. Both guys took it in stride, though it was obviously tougher on Willy, who has known no other organization since he was 16 years old. They’re both good guys who deserve good things down the road.
Once Ned and Grady had informed the players, Kim called me and told me I could announce it in the press box, which took place at about 7:37. The broadcasters got this just seconds before they went on the air and passed it along to all the fans. Ned made his way upstairs, where he met with the media to explain the move during the top of the first inning and then immediately headed back to his office to try and work some more magic.
I’m rarely in the clubhouse during a game, but had to head down there last night to say goodbye to those two guys and see if they would be willing to talk to the media before they left. Both guys obliged, which says a lot about them. I can’t imagine being told that I have to pick up my life and move it to the other side of the country in the next 24 hours and then have to explain my feelings to the world. Sure, these guys make a lot of money, but they are human beings with families and lives that they go into utter disarray for this period of time. And the thoughts that must go through your head when you’re traded have to run the gamut from excitement to disappointment to confusion to curiosity and a million others.
Finally, to answer one question about Nomar’s Spanish – from what he told me a while back, he can understand it pretty well but doesn’t really speak it that much. I’m sure he knows plenty of phrases – you’d be surprised how many other American guys on the team have picked up quite a bit just being around it so much – but Nomar certainly takes pride in his Mexican heritage and the Mexican-American community here in Los Angeles really seems to have taken to him quite quickly.
Here’s the lineup: