March 2008

A tough break

Actually, it’s not a break but a torn UCL that will require surgery for Andy LaRoche and keep him out for 8-10 weeks. What unfortunate timing for this to happen, given the great competition that he and Nomar had been having this spring for the third base job. Making matters worse, Nomar also took a pitch off his wrist/hand, but X-rays came back negative, which is always positive. We wish Andy a very speedy recovery and I’m sure we’ll see him in the bigs at some point this year.

However, one thing this does is remind us all how important depth is for a team. The fact that we had both of our third basemen get hurt within a span of a couple innings just shows the unpredictability of the game. One minute, everyone is weighing in on which guy should be the starter and the next minute, Angel Chavez is playing third base. Let’s hope Nomar bounces back quickly and that we don’t have any other injury issues to deal with this spring.

Here’s today’s lineup in Jupiter for the game that will be on KCAL, with you-know-who behind the mic.

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

Ethier, DH

Kemp, RF

Young, 2B

Martinez, 3B

Repko, LF

Today's lineup

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

Ethier, RF

Nomar, 3B

Kemp, DH

Abreu, 2B

Ardoin, C

Billingsley, P

Headed to the Fort

The team bus left this morning at 7 a.m. for Fort Myers and the game will be televised on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. That means three of our next four games will be on TV for you all to watch, as Saturday and Sunday will be on KCAL 9, with Vin Scully live from Florida.

I’m staying at Dodgertown to work on various China- and Coliseum-related things, but I’ll obviously be watching the game from afar.

For the person who mentioned James McDonald, I’m not sure when he’s scheduled to pitch but I’m fairly certain there’s nothing wrong with him. I think the issue is just that we have a ton of pitchers in camp this spring, mostly because of the trip to China that will create the split-squads, so you’ll probably see more of him once Tommy is managing half the team here in Vero. It seems like most of the guys getting work in right now are the veterans who are more likely to make the Opening Day roster and I think it’s safe to say that James likely isn’t in that group just yet, given that he hasn’t pitched at Triple-A yet. But, there was a great article on him in the Orange County Register recently by columnist Mark Whicker, so check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Here’s the lineup for today:

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Kemp, RF

LaRoche, 3B

Lindsey, DH

Paul, CF

Tiffee, 1B

Martinez, 2B

Lowe, P

Lineup at St. Lucie

Young (RF), Loney (1B), Jones (CF), Kent (2B), Nomar (DH), LaRoche (3B), Ethier (LF), Bennett (C), Hu (SS), Penny (P)

Nightcap

Kuroda and Kershaw have both looked good so far in the nightcap and LaRoche hit an absolute bomb early on.

It’s been a busy day at Dodgertown, as Frank McCourt got a chance to talk to the media this morning and cover a number of key topics. Then, the team headed to Viera and got a win in the split squad.

We’re all crazy busy around here getting ready for the China trip, which keeps everyone on their toes. Lots of last minute things that have to get sent in when you’re visiting a communist country. In fact, I’m not even certain I’ll be able to blog from there, but we’re trying to find out what restrictions there will be, if any, while we’re in Beijing.

Starting tomorrow night (Wednesday) through Monday night, KABC will host a special half hour edition of DodgerTalk from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. PT, so be sure to tune in for the latest from Vero Beach.

And finally, in case you haven’t seen the promotional schedule, fans can vote again for which player will be portrayed in the final bobblehead giveaway, so jump online and do so before Opening Day.

Today's lineup

Lineup for today…

DeJesus, SS

Young, LF

Ethier, RF

Jones, CF

Nomar, 3B

Sweeney, DH

Lindsey, 1B

Bennett, C

Chavez, 2B

Loaiza, P

China Roster Announced

A few housekeeing things before we get to the headline information.

I’m sure many of you read Tony Jackson’s blog on the Daily News website, which is a good source for a beat writer’s perspective on day-to-day life in the bigs. Yesterday, he kindly pointed out that the new 2008 Information Guide has been published and is available for our media to help them cover the team (it will also be for sale this year at the Top of the Park Gift Shop and the Dodgers Clubhouse Shop at Universal CityWalk).

Tony mentioned the images on the cover, as well as the inclusion of Chan Ho Park, so I figured I’d explain the reasoning. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration this year, we’ll be highlighting a number of things, including the organization’s role historically in the pioneering of baseball in America and around the world. Whether it’s Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo, or Chan Ho Park the Dodgers have a history of being the first, or among the first, to reach various races, religions, and countries in spreading the game of baseball. Hence the reason why Chan Ho Park, the first Korean in Major League history and the team’s last 18-game winner, is on the cover with so many Dodger legends.

And while we’re on the subject of spreading the game internationally, we are announcing our roster for the two-game series in China and here it is:

Pitchers (12)

Falkenborg, Hull, Koplove, Kuo, Miller, Orenduff, Park, Riley, Shackelford, Stults, Sturtze and Troncoso.

Catchers (3)

Ardoin, Ellis, May

Infielders (9)

Chavez, Garciaparra, J. Gonzalez, Hu, Lindsey, Martinez, Tiffee, Sweeney

Outfielders (6)

Griffin, Jones, Kemp, Lombard, Paul, Ruan

Overall, it’s a good group of guys that includes four players with more than 10 years of big league service, in addition to some of our most talented younger players who have recently reached the big leagues. We were able to also make sure that the team in Vero Beach is filled with well known players so that the games there continue to be exciting for many reasons, not the least of which are Tommy Lasorda’s role as manager of that team.

Speaking of which, Tommy posted a blog today about his trip to see the former President Bush.

And finally, here’s the lineup for today’s game against the Orioles, with John "T-Bone" Shelby set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Jones, CF

Loney, 1B

Nomar, 3B

Kemp, RF

Ethier, DH

Billingsley, P

Meet the Dodgers

Today is "Meet the Dodgers Day" at Holman Stadium and we’re expecting more than 8,000 people, which is a huge crowd here in Vero. The players will be out meeting the fans and signing autographs from 11:45-12:15 so if you’re in town, be sure to get over here.

We’ll also be honoring Steve Garvey today as part of our Thank You celebration at Dodgertown, so be sure to tune in to KABC 790 if you’re back in Los Angeles. Steve will join Rick Monday and Charley Steiner for an inning to talk about his memories of Dodgertown, many of which are detailed in his upcoming book, "What I Learned from the Boys of Summer." Some of you may know that Steve’s dad used to be a bus driver for the team in the 1950s during Spring Training, long before he went on to stardom with the team.

Also joining Rick and Charley for an inning will be Frank McCourt, who is visiting Dodgertown this week and will be able to give an update on a very busy offseason, both on and off the field. As you probably know, the field level concourse is being completely redone, with the addition of two new clubs for the baseline box seat holders. This should help reduce the long lines at concession and merchandise stands and is just the latest in a multi-year plan to help make the fan experience a better one at the stadium.

And, be sure to tune in after the game for Dodgertalk with Ken Levine and Josh Suchon. They will also be hosting the Sunday night show on KABC this evening from 7-10 p.m. PT (which is obviously much later on this coast, but it will be live). Josh Suchon took over for A Martinez as the daily reporter and you’ll be hearing him all season long on the Dodgers’ flagship station. He’s a longtime baseball writer in the Bay Area who most recently handled minor league play-by-play for the Modesto Nuts while also hosting a daily talk radio show with J.J. Stokes on ESPN Radio. Ken Levine, as many of you know, was the main writer for Cheers, among many other Hollywood credits, and is formerly the voice of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s got a ton of baseball experience and hopefully you’ve had the chance to hear him and Josh together during the winter.

Here’s the lineup for today’s game:

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Jones, CF

Kent, 2B

Martin, DH

Nomar, 3B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, RF

Bennett, C

Lowe, P

March Madness

February is over and we’re just 31 days away from Opening Day.

The bus is pulling away right now for Port St. Lucie and Brad Penny’s first start of the year.

In regards to the question about whether more games will be televised once we’re playing spring games in Arizona, that remains to be seen. There is a good chance that KCAL and FSN will be able to do a few more games but I don’t think we’ll necessarily get to the point where all the games are televised. Distance to Vero Beach is certainly an issue but not the only factor in how we pick the television games.

One cool thing to note is that MLB.com is going to televise the game on March 17, the Grapefruit League finale that has Tommy Lasorda managing. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if you start to see more games televised via the Internet in the years to come.

Here’s the lineup for today:

Pierre, LF

Young, 2B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Jones, CF

Nomar, DH

Sweeney, 1B

LaRoche, 3B

Hu, SS

Penny, P

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