Gang's almost all here…

Not much to report from here…Schmidt and Brazoban both threw without issue today, which is obviously a positive. Sandy Koufax was back out again today, this time working with Greg Miller, among others. 

With nothing else really to blog about, here are our daily notes from Dodgertown.

FULL SQUAD ON THE HORIZON: Dodger pitchers and catchers worked out for the sixth time this spring, and tomorrow will be joined by all position players for the first full-squad workout.  Nearly all position players this morning were out on the field taking batting practice, fielding grounders, and catching fly balls to get an early start.  Sandy Koufax was on the grounds for the third day in a row to offer advice to the pitching staff.  Maury Wills was also on hand, helping pitchers with bunting drills in Wills Pit.

DOUBLE NICKEL: As most are aware, Dodger catcher Russell Martin wears uniform No. 55.  Yesterday, while the Canadian was filming for DodgerVision, he discussed his favorite baseball memory as being his major league debut on May 5, 2006.  When a public relations staffer asked Martin if that was the reason why he went on to wear No. 55 permanently, he replied, “Oh, I didn’t even think of that.”  A true coincidence, indeed.  Martin explained that 55 was the number that he and the club agreed to.

HOMETOWN HEROES: There are six Dodgers on the 40-man roster who are Southern California natives, including Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, James McDonald, Greg Miller, Rudy Seanez, and Delwyn Young.  The high schools these men played at are St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower (Garciaparra), Edison High School in Huntington Beach (Kent), Long Beach Poly High School (McDonald), Esperanza High School in Anaheim (Miller), Brawley Union High School (Seanez), and Littlerock High School (Young).  Not to go unnoticed is Esteban Loaiza, who was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, CA.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: The Dodgers have eight first-round draft picks in camp, including four who are supplemental first-round selections.  Of the eight first-round players, Chad Billingsley (24th overall in 2003), James Loney (19th overall in 2002), Miller (31st in 2002), Justin Orenduff (33rd overall in 2004), and Jason Repko (37th overall in 1999) were selected by the Dodgers.  The other three are Rick Asadoorian (17th overall by Boston Red Sox in 1999), Garciaparra (12th overall by Boston in 1994), and John-Ford Griffin (23rd overall by New York Yankees in 2001).  Both Asadoorian and Griffin are in Dodger camp as non-roster invitees.

TAKE IT TO THE HAUS: Longtime Seattle Mariners’ broadcaster Dave Niehaus today was named the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, and will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.  Upon graduation from Indiana University, Niehaus worked for the Armed Forces radio and TV service, calling the action for Dodger games before moving to New York to handle Yankees baseball as well as basketball and hockey. After leaving the Armed Forces Network, he returned to Los Angeles to broadcast the Dodgers, Rams, and Lakers.

YOU COMPLETE ME: In going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA in 26 starts last year for Hiroshima, Hiroki Kuroda tossed seven complete games.  In Major League Baseball in 2007, there were four teams with as many as seven complete games.  The Toronto Blue Jays led the way with 11, followed by the Chicago White Sox (nine), Cleveland Indians (nine), and Arizona Diamondbacks (seven).  Individually, Toronto’s Roy Halladay led the Majors with seven complete games in 2007, followed by Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia and Arizona’s Brandon Webb with four apiece.

GREAT SCOTT!: Dodger reliever Scott Proctor ranks second in the Majors over the last two years with 166 appearances, trailing only Washington’s Jon Rauch, who has 173.  Proctor’s final 31 appearances of 2007 came in a Dodger uniform.  Jonathan Broxton, meanwhile, is tied for seventh among big league relievers in that same span with 151. 

DATES TO REMEMBER

February 20 – First Full-Squad Workout

February 29 – First Spring TV Game (at Atlanta, 1:05 pm on ESPN)

March 2 – Ticket On-Sale Day at Dodger Stadium

February 28 – First Spring Game (vs. Atlanta, Holman Stadium)

March 15-16 – Dodgers vs. Padres in China

40 Comments

Thanks Josh for all the info.
http://baseballislife.mlblogs.com/

Yes, thanks Josh for the update. We all look forward to the news from the front line.

It would be awesome if Schmidt can pitch effectivly this year. 5 quality starters that no one else in the division can match…. Looking forward to seeing Kuroda pitch as well.

Please keep the updates coming Josh!!

Josh thanks for the updates and some of the daily inside stories. It is fun to get these daily!

I would love any ideas for where to eat in Vero? I’m able to go this year for the first (And I guess last) time. I’ve never been there and don’t know any good places to go.

Good news on Schmidt and Brazoban. I hope the same is true with Kuo.

With Kuo and DY out of options, hopefully there will be some way to keep both of them. I for one think Kuo can only start. So hopefully he can be #5 and Schmidt can take his time coming back. Then have Loaiza out of the bullpen for long relief.

I’m thinking that the issue with Loaiza last year was he was recovering from his surgery. I think he is better than we saw.

What a great time of year!!

Go Blue!!!!!

enchanted, I personally think Schmidt’s health will be a bigger factor to our success in ’08 than our LF dilemma. If we can keep our front 5 healthy for the majority of the season, we will have the best rotation in baseball.

Penny

Lowe

Billingsley

Kuroda

Schmidt

The difference between Ethier and Pierre is not as great as the difference between Schmidt and Loaiza IMO. The #5 slot in our rotation hurt us much more than JP did last year (despite what some people think). I don’t want to confuse anybody, JP’s best spot is off of our team, Ethier and DY are both better options and Pierre’s abilities are not as well rounded as either of the others. I personally don’t blame Coletti for signing JP, I blame him for for the length and the amount of the contract. Last year we had an OF full of ?s and we did need to sign somebody but if Ned would’ve kept the terms of Pierre’s contract at a reasonable level, we would have had no problem trading him going into this season.

I am concerned after reading the interview with JP. See this:

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080218&content_id=2378329&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

In particular, these comments:

But, if Jones’ acquisition is coupled with Matt Kemp starting in right field and Andre Ethier moving Pierre to a bench role, “maybe then they’d do something with me.”

“They said I would more than likely move to left field. They didn’t say nothing as far as competing for a job.”

Pierre, 30, has played in 434 consecutive games, the longest active streak in baseball. He said it wouldn’t hurt his pride if the streak stopped, but if he lost his starting job entirely, that would be another story.

“I sign a contract for 162 games and I like to think I honor the contract,” he said. “I know the team counts on me. There might be guys that want me to sit, but that’s just the way I feel.”

These remarks do not sound like a concern for what’s best for the team. This is a definite red flag of problems ahead if Pierre remains. For the good of team chemistry as well as team production, moving Pierre should be a Top Priority – and fast!!

bill_1234, please don’t put words in my sentences for me… okay? I never said that was “the worst” outfield play I’d ever seen. I simply said that it was the one play that I couldn’t get out of my head when thinking of Juan Pierre playing the outfield. Please friend, read more carefully next time.

It looks like Koufax is still concerned with the Dodgers and everything is alright in Heaven. I don’t think he’s going anywhere even if he ain’t around as often, according to Sarah. I know he does spend some time with the Mets. *****Maury Wills in Wills Pit? Would somebody please explain that to me. It looks like it’s something I miss through the years. ******Messagebearer said on the last thread he was happy he got a half a loaf of bread from last year and said he hopes to get the other half if the the Dodgers fail again. I don’t need an explaination for that. Well lets hope everybody has arrived by tommorrow.

redfox when you read Ethiers quotes from 3 days ago, different story huh?

Gotta LOVE Brad Penny, when commenting on Larry Bowa as new 3rd base coach:

“Those two guys together — perfect,” Penny said, alluding to the good cop-bad cop approach the mellow manager and fiery coach bring. “This butt-kicking thing in the dugout, it’s going to be huge for us.

“You make a mistake last year, you get a pat on the butt. `It’s all right.’ You lose by one run, it’s not all right…”

jungar, wassup buddy? I’ve been away for awhile but it’s ST time and I can’t wait for the year to start. Is max still around?

As for Pierre…go win a job.

Quit complaining about your position or perceived slights or “your game,” or your glorified contractual obligations, or whatever.

Just go out and beat Ethier, Kemp, and Jones to the punch!

exactly kahli, if Pierre thinks the LF job is inherently his, he’s got another thing coming. Everybody claims he’s a hard-worker, why doesn’t he work hard on the Brett Butler approach to the game. I remember Brett continually taking pitches early in an AB then fouling countless balls out of play before an eventual BB, hit or even out. If JP gave us those kind of ABs, he would be a big asset to our team. It’s not like he is what he is, he should see the big flaw in his game (OBP) and try to find ways to improve.

I hope Pierre asks to be traded. If he has to share considerable time with Ethier in left, I believe he will. He is clearly more worried about his playing time and not the teams success.

What up Charris…Yep getting excited for the season, just taking care of the little one. I am Mr. Mom right now. Sorta looking for a job, sorta not..

Joe Torre on Furcal.

“He can handle that role (leadoff) with no issues,” he said. “He has some power to go with the other stuff. That’s intimidating for the opposing manager. You can’t take him for granted if you’re a pitcher or you’re liable to be down 1-0. He has the ability to do that. Those kinds of guys apply pressure to the opposition.”

jungar, you are so right! I was thinking the same thing. Ethier has the team attitude and certainly the better tools that are needed in LF. I sure hope Joe and Ned recognize that and move Pierre before the season begins.

From yesterdays CNN SI Truth & Rumors:

The Reds haven’t stopped looking for a center fielder and a leadoff man. Baker said he’s talked to Kenny Lofton and Corey Patterson recently. Both play center field. Lofton is the much better leadoff man. So is there a chance he’ll end up with the Reds?

Does anyone know the area code to Cincinnati?

(LOL, were bucking trends…)

Noting the trend of major league teams wanting to stock their benches with young players, Mark Sweeney and Ramon Martinez said they were relieved to be back with the Dodgers. They are by no means assured of spots on the team — Sweeney, 38, is on the 40-man roster, but his contract isn’t guaranteed and Martinez, 35, is a non-roster invitee.

Of teams’ preferences for young players, Martinez said, “It’s the way the game of baseball is going. It worked for Arizona last year.”

The Dodgers will hold their first full-squad workout today. The only players who haven’t been seen in the clubhouse so far are Jeff Kent and non-roster pitcher Alfredo Simon

(oh and way to go Kent. Way to show your proven veteran leadership..I bet everyone is like sweet, the stash ain’t here yet so enjoy it while it lasts…)

I LOVE THAT QUOTE BY PENNY!!! That was a serious problem with Grady last year, and im sure it was frustrating for all of the players. I got annoyed when Kemp made his third baserunning error in a week and he just walked into the dugout without any coach saying anything to him…. Can i get a link for that perhaps?????

GO DODGERS!!! I am so pumped.

Great article on Newcombe. It is great to read about the older players. I did not realize that he was such a good hitter. In 55 he had .359 avg 42 hits and 7 hrs, wow that is impressive.

He sounds like a better person than he was a baseball player. God bless him and keep up the great work!

Well that is my shot at posting something positive, now lets see..Pierre stinks, Kent is not a leader, blah, blah, blah….

Bill I am with you, it can only be said so many times how much you dislike a persons ability or personality and it does get tiresome…

Ah, I was hoping that Martin took 55 for some reason revolving around Orel. Funny how my two favorite players wore (and wear) the same number.

Penny said what I was thinking all along. Grittle was not the right man for the manager job, he and his coaches were too complacent when any mistakes were made. He never had that fire that sometimes a team needs from their manager. Sometimes a kick in the *** is better than a pat on the butt. Also team player PeeAir needs to win the job or be gone.

Here’s the link to Penny’s comments. Whole article is great:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-dodgers-penny&prov=ap&type=lgns

That is a great article, kahli. I can’t WAIT to see a managing team that is not only competent, but pushes the players to excel mentally and physically in their games. That’s really been lacking in LA the past few seasons, and this team has so much POTENTIAL that if the staff can draw it all out, I don’t see why the Dodgers can’t win 95 games.

Oh, and for the Ned bashing that is starting to occasionally happen due to the revived Pierre argument…the guy did nothing but good this offseason. (Signed a slugger, improved the team defense, improved the rotation, kept all the kids, signed a great new manager.) Let’s keep that in mind before we work ourselves into a 2007-like frenzy again if Pierre wins a job. Even if Pierre plays, hopefully Torre will take a page from the 2007 Tony LaRussa playbook and have Pierre in the 8 hole when he plays…I can’t see the team suffering too badly, as improved as they are in so many other aspects of the game this offseason (including the maturing of young players).

Or did LaRussa bat Eckstein 9th and have the pitcher 8th? I don’t remember. I’d like that even better, especially because we have 1 or 2 pitchers who can get on base.

If Phew-erre starts, I agree, he should bat 8th. With the pitcher coming up behind him, he will get plenty of fastballs as they will go after him since he has no power. Batting 8th would require him to take more pitches and walk more. Not one of his fortes.

Listening to Martin talking about the starting staff, I’m happy he feels the same way as everybody else about Schmidt. I think this could be very important. I also noticed that he left out Kuroda. I’m wondering if it’s just because he’s not familiar with him or he inadvertantly forgot to mention him. BTW I’m still hoping someone can tell me about “Wills’ Pit”.

I’ve read the Pierre articles like most of you, but I’ve been refraining from posting since only negativity will come from it.

Right now, I’m looking forward to the upcoming games and hoping for a miracle.

Yes pupperhead01, Your right, LaRussa battered the pitcher 8th. I think we’d have the only pitchers being pitched around to get to Pierre. lol ***All kidding aside The base stealing Pierre had nearly 200 hits. His main fault besides his weak arm is he’s not a power threat.

Pierre will never draw a lot of walks because with NO power at all, pitchers don’t have to nibble at the corners when they can groove it down the middle with no worries. The worst that can happen is that he gets lucky and the ball finds it’s way into the outfield.

I also think Ned has done a good job this offseason. I agree with the moves he’s made. I didn’t like the moves he made last season, but I did like the Furcal move the season before. As a GM I don’t think you need to admit to making mistakes when those “mistakes” are still on your team. What is the point?? Doing that would be shooting your bargining chip in the foot.

The only youngsters that he traded away I’ve pretty much heard nothing positive of them since.

I didn’t like the Little hiring, but I feel the Torre hiring was a great move.

I think with a GM you need to evaluate their job after 3-5 years. It takes time for their draft picks to work up through the system to go along with getting the players out of the system they don’t like. Remember the Penny trade. Most of us Dodger fans were fuming that LoDuca and others were traded.

How do we feel about it a few years later. Maybe there was something there that we as weekenders didn’t see that the GM saw. Like what came out in the Mitchell Report.

Changing a GM every year or two is tough on an organization.

So far as a whole I think Ned has done a decent job and I’m glad he is the GM of the Dodgers.

And Bill, don’t stop posting because of some negative feedback. The more opinions the better!!

We need to remember, were all pulling for the same team and it’s okay to have different opinions.

BTW I’m still hoping someone can tell me about “Wills’ Pit”.

Posted by: pierreseastmeetswest@yahoo.com | February 20, 2008 11:21 AM

Wills’s pit is an area at Dodgertown where Maury Wills works with the players on sliding and stealing bases. I’m not sure but he may also work with them on bunting there as well.

I know a lot of you young wipersnappers are very anxious to move the old wood out the door but I’m very glad to have Jeff Kent. I’m happy he was satisfied with Ned’s moves over the winter and I believe his additude comes from not wanting to lose. Call him a sore loser if you want, but when it comes to your team, what’s wrong with that? If he still has his power and don’t forget he plays second base, I don’t think there is any better offset(compansation) for a having Pierre and his lack of power in the outfield. Also are you ready for a healthy Furcal who also has “good pop” for a shortstop. This may be it for these two guys for us but as I said I’m glad to have their experience. I can’t wait to see Joe Beimel with his hair cut. I also hope it doesn’t effect his pitching.

Thank You, jhall1218, ****I’m familiar with the fact that Maury works with the team with his skills as Sandy does with the pitchers but I never heard that expression calling that spot, “Wills’ Pit”. It looks like we have to find another one in Glendale Arizona for him. Thanks Again.

Pierre will never draw a lot of walks because with NO power at all, pitchers don’t have to nibble at the corners when they can groove it down the middle with no worries. The worst that can happen is that he gets lucky and the ball finds it’s way into the outfield.

Posted by: scott@whittiermailing.com | February 20, 2008 11:43 AM

=============================

If pitchers could do that, how is it that Brett Butler – not much of a power threat – managed to walk a lot? (He walked in 11.8% of his career PAs, that’s about like JP walking 85 times a season.)

Brett Butler was a pretty good centerfielder as well. He made the pitcher work and show all his pitches on that first at bat of the game. Class act all the way. Pierre can’t hold his jock.

dcollins3073 – Colletti has had a generally good off-season and that is to his credit. The prospects he has traded have not panned out for their new teams yet (there’s still hope for a couple, and at least one, Chuck Tiffany, is more because of injury – hard to predict), but to me that is not the only point. He may have traded the right ones (which is partly a function of listening to the right advisors), but they were still highly-regarded prospects when they were traded. Therefore my beef with Ned on those trades is not who he traded, but what he traded for: middle relievers, Julio Lugo and Mark Hendrickson.

Also, Ned inherited his amateur scouting department – Logan White and crew – so that isn’t entirely to his credit, but he deserves praise for holding onto the right prospects (and the right front office members).

Ned Colletti is far from the worst GM in MLB.

Pierre batting eight would take away one of his strengths stealing bases there is no way Pierre steals with 2 outs and the pitcher up.
So we are down to Pierre can’t hit,throw,catch fly balls, or hit for power. While on the bench there is a third year player who can’t develop watching Pierre ground out to second. I’m confident Torre will make the right move.

Brett Butler didn’t handle the Mike Busch situation in a very classy way, though.

Butler was also the guy who said that Piazza plays for Piazza not the team and we’d be better off without him. But I’d have to say here, even though I still hold the above against him, he was the best I ever saw at bunting. And I saw Rizzuto & Reese and a lotta others and Butler truly was a magician with the bat. That’s how he made up for his lack of power.

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