Saturday, March 31, 2007


Via Dodger Thoughts comes a fine analysis of the Dodgers' Opening Day roster as well as a reaction from James Loney from this AP article:

Manager Grady Little acknowledged that Loney didn't take the news of his demotion well.

"This kid had a great spring for us and he played well for us last season," Little said. "In most cases, when you option a guy down to Triple-A, you have some things you want him to work on and get better at. In his case, we're going to be looking for the opportunity to get him back up here."

Hey James: The Dodgers were smart enough to promote Matt Kemp, so there's hope yet. Keep that bat and glove sharp and we'll be seeing you sooner than you can say "under-appreciated future franchise cornerstone."

Cardinals Win "Civil Rights Game", 5-1

Hey, I'm all for civil rights, and as a Dodger fan I certainly respect the legend and legacy of Jackie Robinson.

But is it just me, or is it weird that the "Civil Rights Game" is a meaningless exhibition game? It's almost like MLB is saying, "we support civil rights, so long as it doesn't impact the regular season."


Congratulations, Matt Kemp!

Bit of a bombshell here. From Tony Jackson at the Daily News:

Roster shocker: Kemp makes team, Bigbie doesn't

It ultimately came down to the fact Kemp was a right-handed hitter and Bigbie wasn't, and Ned and Grady wanted to balance their heavily left-handed bench. Bigbie has one more day to find a major-league offer and exercise his out clause -- something he can do even if he doesn't find a major-league offer. But if he decides to stay, he'll go to Las Vegas and be just like any other minor league player not on the 40-man roster. Kemp batted .246 for the spring, but also had four home runs, including a monster shot in Friday night's win over the Angels, and nine RBI.

Wow! Just when we were all set to continue bitching, Ned and Grady do the right thing. Don't expect seven home runs in his first 52 games, but finally we get to see what Kemp can do over (hopefully) a full season.

Now about getting James Loney onto the club....

Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see Bigbie's reaction. I don't see him staying, not when he's gone through the trouble of negotiating that opt-out clause.

Jackson also reports that Rafael Furcal will start the season on the DL, giving Wilson Valdez a chance to impress.

Too bad Valdez is out of options—even though we previously said moving Nomar off first could be folly, seeing him at shortstop for a few games (Furcal is eligible to return for the Giants series) with Loney at first would have rocked from the westside to the eastside.

(Thanks to superfast commenters mike and dodgerfan in idaho for the tip!)

Dodgers Lose Last Meaningless Game; All Set to Start Losing Meaningful Games

LA Angels 4, LA Dodgers 2

We knocked Wilson Betemit for being a defensive black hole at third base, but he's made some pretty impressive picks recently, including a diving stop in tonight's game. Here's hoping he keeps up the solid defense.

Weekend Conversation: Where Will You Be Opening Day?

As the famous lyricist Marky Mark Wahlberg once said, “Can you feel it baby? I can, too.”

And if you’re a baseball fan, you too are feeling the good vibrations this weekend, which heralds the long-awaited coming of Opening Day to the 2007 baseball season. No longer do we have to watch hockey (not that you can even findhockey on television anymore), or throw away mostly-unread issues of ESPN the Magazine (jam-packed with feature stories on obscure action sports athletes), or agonize through analysis of spring training box scores as one tries to extract meaningful data from accounts of meaningless games.

With the exception of the NCAA basketball playoffs, there hasn’t been any compelling sports on television in months. Even March Madness itself is almost designed to awaken baseball fans from hibernation, using three straight weekends to start getting us back into shape cheering for the boys in blue.

It’s baseball season. And I can’t wait.

For the last five years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the Dodgers’ home opener, always with my mom. It’s been our little tradition. Usually the seats aren’t so good, and sometimes, the weather doesn’t even comply (it even rained last year, but luckily our top-row reserve-level seats kept us pretty dry). But each year, not even inclement weather, or even an opening day loss (as I’ve seen the past three years), can dim the excitement of being there for the home opener.

And the Dodgers make a pretty good show of it, with paratroopers flying in to land on the field, stealth bomber flyovers, on-field fireworks as the starting lineups are announced, special memorabilia and giveaways, etc. It’s worth playing hooky from work (but then, any excuse to be at Chavez Ravine drinking beers at 11am is worth missing work). [This year, the Dodgers’ season opener is on the road, at Miller Park in Milwaukee April 2nd.]

This year, I’m taking my wife for the first time, and introducing her to the majesty that is Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. (My mom will be attending the game as well.) The Dodgers square off against the Colorado Rockies. And I can’t wait.

(By the way, I’m throwing out the ceremonial first pitch this year. That’s right—me: Steve Sax!)

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about Opening Day around the country, and how it has become increasingly difficult to get tickets now that teams are securing more and more of them as part of multi-game plans. The Dodgers offered only 14,000 individual tickets for opening day—down from 16,500 last year—using this exact rationale (tickets for opening day sold out in 15 minutes). But other teams were even more stingy—the Brewers sold only 1,000 individual tickets (down from 4,000 the prior year), and the Tigers didn’t sell any individual tickets.

Still, it’s such a worthwhile event that rabid fans celebrate streaks of opening day attendance. Many fans were profiled in the article, but the highlight was 91-year old Nettie Berkson, who will attend her 50th consecutive Dodgers home opener this year. She has followed the team from Brooklyn and now attends with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Amazing.

So April 9, 1.10pm, you know where I’ll be. Juan Pierre (or Rafael Furcal) will make his way to the plate in the bottom of the first. The crowd will be hollering like mad.

And once again it all comes back to Marky Mark (apologies to the rest of the Funky Bunch). I’ll be right there, field level, behind the Dodgers’ dugout,…

…saying, “Come on, swing it.”

Oh yeah, the weekend conversation: Are you as excited for the Dodgers’ opening day as I am? Will you make it to the Dodgers’ home opener? And if not, where will you be?

Babes vs Abes

You're probably ready for MLB opening day. But are you ready for opening day of the 2007 "Babes vs Abes" Baseball Challenge? Think before answering. Details coming soon...

Congratulations, Steve Finley

Last month we chronicled Steve Finley's pentafecta quest.

Now, via 6-4-2, comes the result:

The Rockies purchased the contract of Steve Finley; he'll now have appeared in the roster of every NL West team, despite a spring in which he hit .255/.286/.383.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the first-ever Mr. NL West:

Widening the Gap Between Chemists and Counters

From "Some strange new letters in baseball's numbers game" by Bill Shaikin at the L.A. Times:

Baseball statistics can resemble alphabet soup these days. In books, websites and research papers, analysts present such acronyms as VORP and BABIP.

Major league teams generally conduct their statistical research through consultants or in-house analysts, sometimes covering similar ground with proprietary labels, but even baseball executives can have a hard time keeping up with the expanding universe of statistics. So we asked four general managers if they could identify VORP and BABIP, two statistics developed several years ago.

Ned Colletti, Dodgers
VORP: "I can't remember what the exact definition is."
BABIP: "What's that?"

Bill Stoneman, Angels
VORP: "No."
BABIP: "No."

Kevin Towers, Padres
VORP: "Yes."
BABIP: "You'd have to ask the number crunchers on that one. I couldn't tell you."

Billy Beane, Athletics
VORP: "Value over replacement player."
BABIP: "Which one is that? I don't even know what that one is."

Is it further proof of the deification of Billy Beane that I believe the other GMs, yet I think Beane was being disingenuous by saying he doesn't know BABIP?

Dodgers Already in First Place

From "Dodgers' ticket-price increase leads majors" by Bill Shaikin and Eric Sondheimer at the L.A. Times:

The Dodgers' average ticket price increased 26.9% from last season, the largest such jump in the major leagues, according to an annual study conducted by Chicago-based Team Marketing Report.

The average ticket price, excluding premium seating, rose from $20.09 to $26.28, according to the report. The major league average this season is $22.29.

The Boston Red Sox had the highest average at $47.71, followed by the Chicago Cubs at $34.30 and the New York Yankees at $29.01.

What, did you think Juan Pierre's contract was going to pay itself? Just imagine what this does to that oft-cited "average family" that buys four tickets, four hot dogs, four Cokes, four programs and four souvenir caps every time they go to the park.

For me, a $5 parking hike plus a $6 increase in average ticket price makes going to Dodger Stadium more like a visit to Disneyland and less like a trip to the park.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dodgers Thump Angels; Betemit, Martin, Kemp Homer


The future is when? You never want to wish injury upon anyone, let alone the boys in blue, but the sooner Matt Kemp and James Loney join Russell Martin as starters, the better.

Caption Contest

"Take that, Pennis State!"

(Click on picture for story.)

photo by Frank Franklin II/AP

Well, That Solves The Leadoff Hitter Question

Rafael Furcal isn't ready to go for Opening Day, according to the Register of OC.

LOS ANGELES--It appears the Dodgers and Rafael Furcal are content to start the season with the shortstop resting his injured ankle.

Furcal suffered a sprain during a game last week, but there was a thought he could be ready for opening day. Instead, with the ankle still tender, it looks like the Dodgers will play the situation conservatively.

"It's very disappointing for me because it would be my first time not starting on opening day," Furcal said. "But that's fine. I would be supporting my team."

The Dodgers have until Saturday night to make final roster decisions, giving Furcal another two days to receive treatment. It's unlikely, however, that he'll be sufficiently healed to start Monday at Milwaukee.

So Juan Pierre bats leadoff for us after all (at least in game 1), the scenario all the Pierre-haters have been dreading since his deal was signed. Guess they're lucky it's an away game, or Dodger Stadium would have to frisk at the turnstiles for tomatoes.

Eric Gagne, You Classy Bastard

Eric Gagne took a page from Shaquille O'Neal's playbook and ran this half-page ad in the sports section of today's L.A. Times. Good to see Gagne has Photoshop skills as well.

You'll forever remain in our coeur, Eric! But we're not going to stop making fun of your injuries!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Because If Anybody Needs to Win the Lottery, It's a Professional Baseball Player

Scioscia Loses Weight; Dodgers Lose Game

LA Angels 6, LA Dodgers 1

Welcome to the club: New acquisition Brady Clark hit into a triple play in the seventh inning.

And was that newly thin fellow in the Angels' dugout Mike Scioscia?

Rhine-Lame : A Foot in Mouth Tale

The Beatles had their "We're bigger Than Jesus." Oasis proclaimed they were bigger than the Beatles (and through the transitive property...) But the NY Giants coach/hernia Tom Coughlin might have upped the stakes for analogies. From NEWSDAY

Giants coach Tom Coughlin won't be disciplined and his job is not in jeopardy after he was quoted saying he is almost as hated as Adolf Hitler.

The Giants had no official comment Thursday after the Daily News quoted Coughlin saying this, in response to a question about the battering he received in the New York and national media near the end of last season: "I hear some of it and I see it. You know [vice president of communications Pat] Hanlon tells me about it, what's going on. Hitler and then me, in that order. Unfortunate, but it is."

Not sure I agree with that order. I'll admit it - I am a huge NY Giants fan. So Choke-lin still being my coach does to my happiness what the Germans did to Poland. I know Hitler, and you Mr. Coughlin, are no Hitler.

Some people actually respected Hitler.

Mets Beat Dodger Wannabes, 13-2

To be fair, most of the Dodgers are back in Los Angeles, ready to play the Angels in tonight's Freeway Series opener. But the next-level Dodgers didn't fare too well in today's split-squad game.

James Loney and Matt Kemp (surprise surprise) had the lone Dodger RBIs, with Kemp's coming off a second-inning home run off of John Maine. Loney went 0-for-2 and now sports a .406 BA.

I'd criticize the four runs that Wright gave up in 2/3 an inning, or the six runs that Hoorelbeke gave up in 1 1/3 innings--but I can't find their first names at I guess you need a spring ERA south of 40.00 to be eligible for first-name status.

And when the next guy on the mound is Luis Gonzalez, who gave up only one run in one inning (facing six batters), you know this game was not taken seriously by the Dodgers. I am dying to know who Gonzalez's K was...please chime in if you know.

No Surprise (DL) with Eric Gagne in Surprise (AZ)

From "Gagne to start on DL to get more work" at

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers reliever Eric Gagne will start the season on the disabled list, reported Thursday.

Gagne, formerly a dominant closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has missed most of the past two seasons after undergoing elbow and shoulder surgery. The Rangers want him to get more innings before he pitches in a majpr [sic] league game and are hoping to get him back by April 13, when they play the Seattle Mariners.

"He's feeling great," pitching coach Mark Connor told the Web site. "He just needs to pitch more innings."

Akinori Otsuka, who had 32 saves last year, will be the closer until Gagne returns, the Web site reported.

Feeling great, sure. Ranger fans, stay tuned for...the rest of the story.

The Perfect Gift for Dodger Fans with Jock Itch

The California Lottery will use today's opening Freeway Series preseason game to herald the new Dodger Scratchers.

The Dodger Scratcher will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on March 29 at Dodger Stadium outside the Dodger dugout with Dodgers, including Opening Day starting pitcher Derek Lowe, participating in a "scratch-off" prior to the start of the annual Freeway Series between the Dodgers and the Angels. Dodger Scratchers are now available for sale at Lottery retailers across Southern California.

"Dodger Scratchers are a great way for us to offer fans the opportunity to win some memorable prizes," said Dodger Chief Operating Officer Marty Greenspun. "It's another fun way for our fans to get involved in Dodger baseball and give back to the California school system."

Greenspun neglected to mention how this is also a great way to get Dodger fans hooked on that wonderful vice that is gambling!

You want to give back to the California School System? Write a check and make the donation directly. No need to dilute your contribution by 66% (giving schools only 34 cents on the dollar).

I've always said that the lottery is an income transfer from the poor and stupid to the poor and stupid. Now, Dodger fans have a chance to participate in a new socioeconomic stratum. Congratulations.

Kirk Gibson, Diamondback

It barely caused a ripple when it was announced in November, but expect to hear plenty more about new Diamondbacks bench coach Kirk Gibson.

Jerry Crasnick at profiles Gibson's effect on the young Diamondbacks, "the National League team most likely to spring a surprise this season."

photo by M. Spencer Green/AP

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Blue Heaven: E-ticket bids a fond farewell to Dodgertown, the last great spring training complex

(Thanks to our very own Pedro Guerrero for the tip!)

Derek Lowe Is a Gamer in Every Sense of the Word

From Ken Gurnick at

Dodgers starter Derek Lowe said he's ready for the season after pitching five innings against Detroit, proving he's in midseason form despite serving up a three-run homer to Gary Sheffield, who has hit .471 off him in his career.

Lowe said he does remember a time when he handled Sheffield effectively.

"PlayStation," he said.

Russ Ortiz - How Bad is He?

Short answer - pretty bad.

Long answer - REALLY REALLY bad.

It's comforting to know that the Giants are now GUARANTEED a loss every fifth game. Over the past few years, Ortiz stunk up every game he even walked by. In Dec 2004, Ortiz signed a four-year, $33 million contract with Arizona. ($22 Million of which he got paid not to play... nice work if you can get it!)

Before the contract, he was an almost stellar 103-60 with a 4.01 ERA. After that, as a show of appreciation, Ortiz went 5-16 with an opponent BA of .324 and a 6.94 ERA!!!

It wasn't always quite so bad. For four games in April 2005, Ortiz made the Diamonbacks look only a little foolish with a 2-1 record. Then, on May 2, 2005, the fit hit the shan!. Still reeling from that weekend's midling box office returns of A Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Russ Ortiz put up three sevens (hits, runs, and ER). Things got only worse from there. Since May '05, Ortiz has started 28 Games with a record of 3-18! The Diamondbacks got a hard lesson on the price of winning, spending $6.6 Million per victory on Ortiz. Let's just hope the Giants get a similar return on investment.

Why We Have to Beat the Jokers Down South

And when I say "jokers," I mean "jokers."

Caught this story on Deadspin, which credited this blog for the find. I appreciated Deadspin's headline ("Tom Jackson might refer to him as a retard"), but I don't want their color commentary to outshine what is truly, truly hilarious material from the inner clubhouse circles of the San Diego Padres:

Not to be outdone (ballplayer nor writer), Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune reported (and Buster Olney blogged about) Brian Giles unique brand of comedic hijinks:

“Hey Greg, I've got one for you,” Brian Giles said to new Padres teammate Greg Maddux last month. “Why was the mathematics book depressed?” Giles said. After the 333-game winner pondered the question for a few seconds, Giles slowly delivered the punch line. “Because it had a lot of problems inside.”

Giles laughed as if he were the second coming of Robin Williams, slapped Maddux in the left arm and walked away. Maddux, appearing perplexed, resumed answering questions from a reporter.

Giles returned a few second later, speaking slowly, like an athlete who took too many shots to the helmet. He stared into Maddux's bemused face. “Greg, here's another one. What kind of waves are the really small ones in the ocean?” Pause. “Micro waves.”

Giles giggled and walked back to his dressing stall. A trace of a grin appeared on Maddux's face. Then Maddux resumed the interview. Giles returned in about 30 seconds – naked – and said, “Greg, what kind of language does a porcupine use? “Spine language.”

Maddux belly-laughed. Giles roared and, now content, the right fielder made a triumphant return to his clubhouse stall. “I guess it's funnier when he tells the joke without wearing any clothes,” Maddux said....

“Guys do a good job of checking their egos when they walk through the doorway here,” said closer Trevor Hoffman. “A guy like Brian keeps people loose.”

Good times. No wonder Bruce Bochy couldn't wait to get the hell out of there (even to go to San Francisco, no less).

More Great News for Dodger Fans

Russ Ortiz has been named the Giants' fifth starter.

Russ Ortiz will be San Francisco's fifth starter just as the Giants have intended since signing the right-hander in January for a second stint with the club.

"He's doing great," pitching coach Dave Righetti said before the club's final Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. "I never looked at him any other way than that. I thought of him as one of the guys."

The rotation will go left-hander Barry Zito -- the scheduled starter Opening Day on April 3 against the San Diego Padres -- followed by right-hander Matt Cain, righty Matt Morris, lefty Noah Lowry and Ortiz.

Ortiz went 0-8 and had a 8.14 ERA last year for two teams, the Snakes and the Orioles.

Dodgers Tie AL Champs

Somewhere, Bud Selig is shrugging his shoulders. It's another baseball tie!

Dodgers 3, Tigers 3.


--Derek Lowe pitched four innings and gave up seven hits and three runs, including a meatball that Gary Sheffield clobbered for a three-run homer in the third. Lowe did have four strikeouts. Four Dodger pitchers (Rudy Seanez, Matt White, Jonathan Meloan, and Travis Smith) combined for nine strikeouts over the final five innings of play.

--Offensively, the Dodgers got three runs (two of them earned) off of Nate Robertson, with RBI from Andre Ethier and Tony Abreu. Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez each went 1-for-2 and Olmedo Saenz, in the DH slot, went 1-for-3. Russell Martin grounded into a double play; so did Larry Bigbie, who is still batting .352.

--James Loney went 0-for-4 to lower his average to .419.

--Gonzalez and Ethier both had assists from the outfield, the former of which was at home plate. Nice.

And once again, all of this turns into a no home-run, three-run game for the Dodgers. Get used to it.

Dodgers Looking to Cream (on) Sheets

AP Newswires just posted that the Dodgers' opponent in our April 2 season opener will be Ben Sheets, who will start for the Brewers in Milwaukee.

PHOENIX (AP) - Brewers ace Ben Sheets will pitch the season opener for the fifth time in his career.

The Brewers start April 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sheets started four openers in a row before beginning last season on the disabled list and missing half the season with shoulder problems. He finished last year 6-7 with a 3.82 ERA.

As reported a month ago, Sheets will face Derek Lowe for the Dodgers.

A Minor Setback on the Urbina Comeback Trail

Ugueth Urbina was just sentenced to 14 years in a Venezuelan prison, for his role in attempting to murder five workers on his family's ranch. Urbina allegedly joined a group of men in attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them.

I'm not a legal expert, but I don't think this is going to help get him signed as a free agent.

I do like the name "Ugueth," though, partially because this spell-checker pulls up "Garth," "Agatha," and "Goethe" as potential alternatives.

Tons of Dodgers Good Tidings

According to Steve Henson's morning LA Times post:

--Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm had a healthy pair of twin girls. Nomar missed the birth but made it in shortly thereafter. Congratulations!

--Brady Clark, the newly-acquired outfielder, is also expecting any day now and remains in Arizona for his child's birth.

--Rafael Furcal may indeed be ready for opening day, as he is running and throwing on his recently-injured ankle.

Can't get better than that. Oh, I suppose a win today would be nice; Dodgers are tied with the Tigers in the 6th, 3-3 (but have struggled to get only five hits, all singles).

The House That Lebron Built

This has little to do with the Dodgers, but made me wish I stayed with my once promising street hockey career. Lebron's got LeBling, and is spending it in style. From SI:

LeBron James' 35,440-square-foot house is shaping up as a castle fit for a king -- with a theater, bowling alley, casino and barber shop. A first-floor master suite, which includes a two-story walk-in closet, will be about 40 feet wide and 56 feet long -- bigger than half the houses in Bath Township.

The house has a dining hall, roughly 27 feet by 27 feet, a "great room" at 34 feet by 37 feet and a bigger, two-story "grand room." The "family foyer" off the six-car garage near the elevator will be dwarfed by a "grand foyer" inside the front entrance with a sweeping, divided staircase leading to four second-story bedrooms. An outer wall will feature a limestone sculpture -- a bas-relief of LeBron's head, wearing his trademark headband.

An In House Casino? Something tells me that making the dealer bust is less exciting when it's YOUR F-ING MONEY! (Does the Donald gamble in Trump Tower?) Lebron says his goal is to be the first billionare in sports, which explains the addition of a barber shop to his house. Those guys at Supercuts make mad bank. Look for MTV to produce an entire season of Lebron's Crib, including the harrowing episode where a crew member plummets to his death inside the closet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


From Ken Gurnick at

Listen to the legend: Brett Tomko, named the fifth starter after his worst start of the spring, said Tuesday's was his best.

Amazing what a conversation with Sandy Koufax can do.

"He came over during my bullpen session and saw that I was talking with Derek [Lowe] about my delivery and he said, 'I hope you don't mind,' and he made a suggestion about my rhythm and how he used to do it," said Tomko. "When a Hall of Famer does that, you don't tell him no. If you don't listen to him and soak up everything he says like a sponge, you're a moron."

If it were only that easy. "Sandy, would you mind standing in this room with the entire pitching staff? Just emanate."

Also, Gurnick reports that catchers Sandy Martinez and Kelly Stinnett, pitcher Joe Mays and reliever Tim Hamulack are all expected to start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas.

Anybody Remember Penny Touching 99 Last Year?

In "High-Speed Pursuit,"'s Jerry Crasnick has compiled a list of each team's hardest-throwing pitchers based on data "pulled from TV radar readings in 2006."

While the Angels have five guys who hit 99 MPH, the Dodgers have two: Jonathan Broxton and Brad Penny. Maybe his horrid second half is still too fresh in my mind, but was Penny consistently able to hit 99 or was it a fluke?

It Might Be Easier to List the Teams Not Interested in A-Rod: Yankees

A-Rod to the Giants? MLB Trade Rumors speculates.

Also, MLBTR quotes the Philadelphia Daily News on a potential trade between the Phillies and Dodgers:

Veteran righthander Rudy Seanez might be an option if the Dodgers make him available. The Dodgers are planning to keep only 11 pitchers on their roster, and Seanez, despite his 1.93 ERA in 9 1/3 innings this spring, might be the odd man out.

First Dessens, maybe Seanez? It's too bad two middling middle relievers don't add up to one power bat.

Comment of the Week

The latest Comment of the Week comes from another repeat offender, the Verducci-phobic cigarcow:

I've got my trigger on if a Loney trade goes down.


That's It Andy, You're Pissing Us Off Now

There has got to be a better way to make news than announcing you are changing your name. Still, that's not stopping Andy LaRoche from changing the spacing in his last name to Andy La Roche, before announcing today that he is going back to the original spacing of Andy LaRoche. According to Steve Henson of the LATimes:

Upon further contemplation, Andy LaRoche wants to close the gap between the lower case 'a' and upper case 'R' in his surname. In other words, clubhouse manager can discard the jersey that reads La Roche.

LaRoche requested that his name be spelled with the space about a month ago, a departure from the way his brother — Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam — and father — former big league pitcher Dave — spelled it.

"I ought to go with it the way everybody else does," Andy said. "I'm not sure what I was thinking."

LaRoche came into spring training hoping to battle Wilson Betemit at third base but mostly battled himself. He has made seven errors, is batting .180 and will begin the season at Las Vegas.

Well if you're batting .180, I guess you're not going to make headlines otherwise. Needless to say, this blog is going to start calling him Andy Lar Oche.

--Sons of Steve Ga Rvey

Drew McCourt Continues To Slight Dodger Legends

Hey, it's yet another Drew McCourt mishap!

This time, "Director of Marketing" aka Frankie's son has used the shop to post an authentic Event-Used Lou Campanella Memorabilia Card.

Just who exactly is this "Lou Campanella"? Dodger Legend Roy Campanella wants to know. (By the way, this is the same guy that Drew McCourt slighted last time. Clearly, the Dodgers have it out for him. The poor guy becomes paralyzed from the waist down in an auto accident, and Drew McCourt still tries to take his legs out. Unbelievable.)

Perhaps the card should read "Actual Card Design and Uniform Style and Player Name May Vary".

(I never thought I'd say this, but) Hat Tip: TJ Simers (specifically, his reader James Drew).

UPDATE 10.39P PDT: Lookee here, the item has disappeared. Guess little Drew is allowed to surf the internet (and read this blog) after he finishes his dinner vegetables!

Dodgers Can't Score, Lose 3-0

Cards 3, Dodgers 0. Get used to this. Have I mentioned we need a power bat?

James Loney goes 1 for 3 and is batting .448 this spring. Andy La Roche goes 0 for 4 with a strikeout and is batting .173 this spring. Yet both are getting sent down. Hmm.

Brett #5 Tomko went five innings and gave up two runs, including a home run to Albert Pujols in the first. Though this would constitute a respectable start for other teams, with our anemic lineup, we will have to expect more from our starters if we are going to win a game.

No Cal Surrenders Before Season Begins

Hot off of their fifth-in-the-NL-West prediction from Sports Illustrated, the Contra Costa Times (a Northern California newspaper) unveiled its predictions for the NL West this year. The CCT predicts the Dodgers will win the division. The Giants are predicted to end up fourth.

Here's their Dodgers team capsule (gotta love that "Mr. Hamm"):

MANAGER: Grady Little (2nd season, 88-74; 276-210 overall)

• 2006 RECORD: 88-74 (2ND NL West, lost to New York Mets 3-0 in NLDS)

• KEY ADDITIONS: RHP Jason Schmidt, LHP Randy Wolf, C Mike Lieberthal, OF Luis Gonzalez, CF Juan Pierre,

• KEY LOSSES: 3B Bill Mueller, OF Kenny Lofton, INF Julio Lugo, RF J.D. Drew, RHP Greg Maddux, RHP Aaron Sele

• FANTASY WATCH: Buy -- Randy Wolf; Sell -- Jeff Kent

• OUTLOOK: If the bullpen were deep, and the lineup had a legitimate power threat, the Dodgers would be a slam-dunk favorite. As it is, they appear to be the class of the division. Furcal and Pierre should wreak havoc, Schmidt and Wolf make the rotation strong from top to bottom, the legs are mostly young and the farm system can offer much help. The Dodgers not only should get to October, they should cause damage when they get there.

Projected lineup
SS Rafael Furcal Worth every penny in first year of 3-year, $39 million deal
CF Juan Pierre Think Dodgers will hit-and-run just a little?
1B Nomar Garciaparra Mr. Hamm revitalized his career
2B Jeff Kent Had lowest power output (14 HR's, 68 RBI) in a decade
3B Wilson Betemit Switch-hitter hasn't proved he can hit from left side
LF Luis Gonzalez Dodgers just need him to be steady
RF Andre Ethier Late-season fade probably not a sign of what's ahead
C Russell Martin Dodgers were 71-43 when he started

Projected rotation
RHP Jason Schmidt Imagine him starting a one-game playoff vs. Giants
RHP Derek Lowe Has had his best years pitching for Grady Little
RHP Brad Penny He'd be easier to like if he'd just stop complaining
LHP Randy Wolf If he's finally healthy, this rotation will be deepest
RHP Brett Tomko Repeat, ad nauseum: He is what he is

Projected closer
RHP Takashi Saito He's not Eric Gagne, but he's not bad

R2-D2, Street Walker

No, he's not gone all hooker on us.

Apparently R2-D2 will be the new face of limited number of USPS mailboxes, as images of our favorite droid will be wrapped around a select number of mailboxes which share his cylindrical shape. All this, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars.

More information in a teaser video here.

Remember, it's a felony to mutilate or steal a USPS mailbox. I'm just saying.

They Called Me MR GLASS

Kerry Wood's got a boo-boo again.

The Chicago Cubs' former ace hurt his right shoulder pitching in relief Sunday and was experiencing more stiffness than usual Monday, one week before the Cubs open the season in Cincinnati.

Wood will not be ready for the first game. "No, that's not going to happen," manager Lou Piniella said Monday. "Let's just hope it's not serious and he can resume preparing himself. Obviously, we'll give him time."

I guess Chicago pizza and sausage doesn't have the healing power of PinkBerry. Hope he gets well in time for his next injury.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Loney to Get Boned Again

From Steve Henson at the L.A. Times:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — First baseman James Loney and third baseman Andy La Roche are projected as the corner infielders of the future for the Dodgers, but they might be the corner outfielders of the present at triple-A Las Vegas.

Barring a last-minute change of heart by the front office, Loney and La Roche will return to the minors, team sources said. Although the primary reason is that veterans are standing in their way, they might as well try to become proficient outfielders while waiting their turn.

Ridiculous! (If true.) What more does a guy have to do to prove he belongs in the majors?

The most frustrating thing? It kind of makes sense. I'm a Nomar fan, but moving him off first is asking for trouble. No other position for Loney makes sense, so he might as well get some hacks in the minors instead of rotting on the bench.

Hang in there, James! And Ned—don't even think about trading Loney. Last time we traded a first base prospect, it didn't work out so hot for us.

Kuo Business Resolved

We're a little late on this, but since we gave Hong-Chih-Kuo flak for allegedly not reporting arm soreness to the Dodgers' medical staff, it seems appropriate to share Tony Jackson's clarification:

Clearing up the Kuo matter

Grady Little looked into Kuo's claim that he actually did tell the medical staff he was hurting after the Boston game on March 16 and found that Kuo was telling the truth. He had told the medical staff. But he also then went out and threw a side session two days later, after which it was determined he was good to go for the Mets game on Wednesday. That's the game where Kuo walked four batters and threw four wild pitches, after which the soreness in the back of his shoulder got so bad that he is now prohibited from picking up a ball. At any rate, whatever he told the medical staff on March 16 must have been downplayed to the point that the medical staff didn't feel the need to tell Grady, because Grady knew nothing about it until after the game on Wednesday.

All is forgiven! Now hurry up and heal!

Dodgers Lose to Split Squad (aka The Mets)

A performance both gutsy and grating resulted in a Dodgers loss to the Dodgers, 6-5. summed up Brad Penny's four innings perfectly. (That's why those writers make millions, and I'm buying 99Cent store prime rib with our Google ad revenue)

Brad Penny, often ineffective against the Mets, was that again, allowing five walks -- one a 10-pitch walk to Tom Glavine -- four hits and three runs in four innings.

The game had its share of snarky ESPN highlights. Olmedo Saenz showed off the blazing base-running that has netted him THREE career stolen bases. Moises Alou, looking every one of his 55 years, misplayed a fly ball that kept the Dodgers fifth inning rally alive. Chan Ho Park celebrated his demotion to the bullpen by giving up a two run meatball in the eighth. And Hendrickson walked enough batters so his plunking of Methuselah Franco netted the Mets a run.

Sidenote - As I'm writing this, 24's Jack Bauer is interrogating a mentally disabled guy. Now he's using this same mentally disabled guy as plant to get a microchip. Going... going... yes, he has cleared the shark!

Dodgers Gain Clark; Trade Dessens; Lose Repko for Season

The Elmer Dessens era is over, as Dessens was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Brady Clark and $2.1M.

Clark gives the Dodgers a replacement for Jason Repko, whose severely injured left hamstring is expected to keep him sidelined for several months. Repko was the only right-handed hitting outfielder set to make the team because the Dodgers want power-hitting prospect Matt Kemp to play every day at triple A.

Clark, 33, batted .263 with four home runs and three stolen bases in 138 games last season. His best year came in 2005 when he batted .306 with 13 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 599 at-bats. "It gives us a very capable player who plays hard, plays all three outfield spots and is a baseball player," said General Manager Ned Colletti said, who added that his scouts say Clark "does a lot of things major league average. He's an average hitter."

Not exactly the rousing endorsement from Neddie ("we're trading to get Mr. Average"). But given the news on Repko, we were kinda stuck:

Repko has two torn tendons in his hamstring close to the pelvis and will be sidelined for at least five months. Dr. Neal El Attrache will perform surgery Wednesday in L.A. to reattach the tendons.

"The prognosis is good, the time frame is bad," Conte said. "This requires the tendon to be regrown back on the bone. So essentially, he will miss the season."

Conte said the injury is rare in baseball but fairly common in football. It occurred while Repko was running for a fly ball in a game Thursday. The hamstring gave out when he stepped from the grass to the warning track.

Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that Dr. Attrache will be doing the reattach? Pretty ironic anagrams. Next they'll be telling me that Stan Conte Can't Stone, or that Nomar Garciaparra has No Air, A Rag Arm, Crap.

Dodgers Trying to Make Room for Seanez

...which shouldn't be as difficult as making room for, say Olmedo Saenz. But it could mean bad news for Elmer Dessens fans (both of them), according to the LA Daily News (and's Truth and Rumors column):

The Dodgers are trying hard to move reliever Elmer Dessens, an industry source said Sunday, and it isn't because they hope to get much in return. Apparently, club officials want to create a roster spot for veteran Rudy Seanez.

Dodger Stadium Diet

Yes, Delino is currently trying to get De-Lean-O (sorry, had to write that). And amidst my aforementioned vices of drinking, gambling, NES RBI, and cheesy 70s Sci Fi, is the looming giant of baseball season (which combines many of said vices). But this spring, I'm on a calorie reduction program known as Weight Watchers. It skeeves me out to even admit that in writing.

I've thus started researching my options for grub at Dodgers Stadium. Bringing food into a game is allowed, but come on... I can eat a dry turkey sandwich at home. If I don't eat for the whole day, I can allow myself five garlic fries from Gordon Biersch and a CPK salad. Though eating a salad at a baseball game might get me in trouble with Tim Hardaway.

My vegan friend walked for three innings, trying to find the veggie dogs hidden away on the Reserve level like a bastard child. To paraphrase Homer J Simpson, I ain't using my legs like a sucker!

So I'm opting for a Dippin Dot diet. Since it's made from the same material that powers the Green Lantern's ring, I assume it will block the caloric intake from my DodgerDog, DodgerBeer, and Steve Sax-inspired sixth inning Malt. Sidenote - typing "Dodger Dogs" in Google Image brings up this lovely picture. Enjoy.

Damn Straight, We're Taking Sides

UCLA 68, Kansas 55: tickets punched to Atlanta. Go Bruins!

Poor Jim Tracy

I've got nothing against Jim Tracy (now that he's gone from the Dodgers), and I wish him well coaching the Pirates. But you've gotta wonder how sad it is to go from one of the storied baseball franchises to the perennial cellar-dwellers of the NL Central. For one thing, the media coverage is not quite the same. Case in point, this USA Today piece from Seth Livingstone, which leads off as follows:

BRADENTON, Fla. — Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Tracy watched pitcher Paul Maholm give up three runs in the first inning of a spring training game against the New York Yankees. Yet Tracy wasn't bummed out.

That's because Maholm limited the damage and followed with two shutout innings. "Last season we'd have been more than likely out of that game in the first inning," Tracy says. "To walk back out there like that kid did and rectify himself with two very easy innings, that's growth."

"Yet Tracy wasn't bummed out." Is this a newspaper article or a third-grader's book report? Even by USA Today standards, this level of journalism is pretty low. At this stage, Tracy may even be pining for Bill Plaschke, god forbid.

I hope Tracy continues being not bummed out as the season continues. Dude. For reals.

It's A Loney Ol' Night...

...and the OC Register has put its arms around him. In the piece, Dodger prospect James Loney has voiced a bit of concern that his impressive spring performance (.444 batting average) might not get him a spot on the major league roster:

VERO BEACH, FLA. – James Loney was 3 for 4 and scored two runs Sunday in the Dodgers' 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Holman Stadium. He raised his spring batting average to .444, but is facing the strong possibility of starting the 2007 season in Las Vegas with the Dodgers' Triple-A team.

"I don't think about it too much because thinking about it is like a kick in the stomach," he said. "I'm doing everything to show this team here that I can help make this team win."

Everything Loney has shown, even before this spring, has been impressive. He batted .438 during spring training last year. His batting average of .380 in Triple-A last season was the best in all of professional baseball, and he batted .284 for the Dodgers in 2006. His combined average since the beginning of spring camp last season is .372.

"I hope it matters to somebody," he said. "If they don't think it matters here, I hope that it matters somewhere else."

James, turn that frown upside down. At the rate that the Dodgers are getting injured, you should have no trouble making the Dodgers' lineup. A talent like yours will not be denied. Just be patient!

I also have this burning need to say something like "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate...leads to suffering," but somehow that doesn't seem to completely fit here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

And Your Fifth Starter Is...Brett Tomko

Brett Tomko was just announced as the Dodgers' fifth starter. He will pitch his first start April 10 against the Rockies.

The announcement knocks Mark Hendrickson to long (and tall) relief, that is, unless Brad Penny won't be able to make his start.

For Tomko, getting the nod is the payoff to an offseason of hard work, better conditioning and a more compact delivery.

"I prepared myself to win a spot," he said. "I didn't expect it, but I was confident. I had the mind-set to deal with it if it didn't go in my favor and do the best I could in whatever role, but I wouldn't have been overjoyed with a different decision. I wanted to earn it and I feel I did."

Tomko has a 5.14 spring ERA, a number inflated by his most recent start, when he allowed six runs in four innings against Baltimore on a windy day at Holman Stadium. Hendrickson's ERA is 5.40.

Tomko was one of general manager Ned Colletti's early acquisitions before the 2006 season. He signed a two-year contract plus an option and he started hotter than any of the Dodgers, going 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA after his first eight starts.

Most of the world has long forgotten those first six weeks and remember instead his nightmare trip to Chicago and New York in early September. Between the two stretches, Tomko slumped as a starter, then suffered an oblique strain that put him on the disabled list for five weeks. When he returned he volunteered for relief duty to bolster a beleaguered bullpen and did well for the first month, allowing two earned runs in 14 1/3 innings.

Again, apparently long forgotten. His troubles actually started with a blown save in Arizona on Aug. 23, but the roof fell in three appearances -- a Sept. 9 blown save at Shea Stadium and a pair of bad outings at Wrigley Field in losses Sept. 12 and 14. Tomko was charged with six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in that Cubs series, or his 3.64 ERA as a reliever for the year would have been 1.84. Tomko's two postseason appearances were equally forgettable. As a starter last year, he was 6-6 with a 5.12 ERA.

Little said Hendrickson accepted the news.

"He wants to be part of a winning team," said Little. "He knows things happen. He'll be ready to start when we need him and that day will come."

I guess a 5.12 ERA beats a 5.40 ERA by a hair. This is one of those "lesser of two evil" choices that I think is coming out best for the Dodgers (especially considering Hong-Chih Kuo's injury). I'm guessing Hendrickson will get plenty of chances to start later on in the season, but for now I'm hopeful this announcement works out well for the Dodgers.

Trade Rumors, "Pulled Out of My Ass" Dept.

From's "Truth & Rumors" column:

A veteran baseball official predicts the big trading deadline deal will be Florida ace Dontrelle Willis going to the Dodgers for prospects including outfielder Matt Kemp.
-- Boston Globe

Weekend Conversion: Synthetic Nylon Screening Measurements. Do You Care?

Schmidt Strong; Bigbie, Loney Shine

LA Dodgers 4, Cleveland 3

PECOTA: We're All Going to Die

Andre Ethier Pulls a Mean Sled

From Diamond Leung (wasn't he a Bond villain?) at the Press-Enterprise:

Support for Ethier

Andre Ethier went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk during the Dodgers' 4-2 win against the Baltimore Orioles at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. He has nine strikeouts during his hitless streak of 21 at-bats, but he has a believer in the Orioles' Jay Gibbons.

Gibbons, a fellow right fielder, trained with Ethier this offseason at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona and came away impressed.

"He's even stronger than he looks," Gibbons said. "When it came to pulling sleds, he'd have 100 pounds more than me on it. I'd be like, 'Sheez, I'm getting old.'

"I know he's in great shape. He's going to be fun to watch. He's going to be something special."

Has Ethier sacrificed flexibility for bulk? It's good to know that if Olmedo Saenz hops on his back, Ethier should still be able to run to first.

Repko Out Until All-Star Break

Grady Little's predictions of a long setback for Jason Repko are starting to materialize, with the Daily News reporting Repko will likely be out until July.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jason Repko, the speedy scrapper who was slated to be the Dodgers' fourth outfielder this season, probably will need surgery to repair the left hamstring he injured running down a ball in the gap in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against Baltimore. It would likely sideline him through the All-Star break.

...[I]t is more bad luck for Repko, who missed 2 1/2 months last season when he landed too hard on his right ankle after attempting to make a leaping catch at the center-field wall. He also strained his right groin chasing a fly ball earlier this spring, but that injury didn't keep him out nearly as long as it was expected to.

This time, he doesn't figure to escape so easily.

Meanwhile, Repko's absence probably will open up a spot on the Opening Day roster for Larry Bigbie, the non-roster veteran who missed most of last season with St. Louis because of a hernia. Bigbie, who is hitting .383 for the Dodgers this spring, theoretically would slide into the one open spot left on the club's 40-man roster. If Repko is placed on the 60-day disabled list instead of the 15-day - something that appears likely if the vague prognosis Little gave reporters holds true - that would open a second 40-man spot that probably would go to reliever Rudy Seanez.

Seanez, a veteran right-hander who has said he almost certainly will retire if he doesn't make the club, pitched a perfect eighth inning against the Orioles. He has allowed no runs on two hits over 8 1/3 innings this spring.

Bigbie seems like a worthy add to the team given the circumstances. But having to dig so low in the dregs of the barrel to save Seanez from retirement seems pretty scary.

How come the injury bug has hit us, rather than the seniors' league team up north?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rick Monday in Midseason Form

Via Dodger Thoughts come these posts about everybody's favorite broadcaster:

Eric Enders
Classic Monday right there: "Scoring is Loney, and cruising into second with a standup double is James Loney!"

Hah, I chuckled at that too. To Monday, "Double" has a triple meaning: a two-base hit; a person's doppelganger is on the basepaths; and two shots of alcohol, as in what Monday had before the inning started.

Eric Enders
Monday: "So Hamulack gets into strikeout mold."
Sounds like something you'd find in Adam Dunn's sweatsocks.

Eric Enders
Monday: "The gooze was nood for the Dodgers this afternoon..."
This is really fish in a barrel. I'd better stop now.

Greg Brock
Rick Monday is so awesome. The guy just lives to mess up.

Repko Pulls a Werth

From "Repko's prognosis takes turn for worse" by Steve Henson at the L.A. Times:

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Weeks have morphed into months. That's the grim prognosis for outfielder Jason Repko's recovery from a hamstring injury.

Manager Grady Little originally said Repko's time on the disabled list would be "measured in weeks." On Saturday, he amended the assessment after Repko had an MRI, saying, "It's going to be a long time. The MRI didn't look good."

And the injury parade continues....

Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo has been shut down from all throwing because of shoulder pain.

With Brett Tomko or Mark Hendrickson likely to start the season as the Dodgers' #5 pitcher, don't be shocked to see Chad Billingsley move out of the bullpen before the All-Star break.

So maybe Ned Colletti was can never have enough pitching. You can unpack those bags, Brad Penny.

Dodgers Place Two on All-Unappreciated Team

From "Under the radar: An All-Star team of unappreciated baseball people" by Jon Heyman at

Grady Little
, Dodgers.

Don't let that Southern twang and folksy charm fool you. This guy can manage a game, and he can manage people even better. He won consistently in Boston and tied for first his first year in Los Angeles, two teams with history and places with pressure.

It helps that the players actually seem to like him. Little's trick? "Players know they're playing for someone whose priority is them, and not himself, every day," Little says. "The players have enough pressure on themselves. None of that pressure comes from me."

Little's accent and speech patterns, which can sound a little like Forrest Gump, can cause folks to underestimate him. It's not a strategy, though, just something that comes naturally. "What you see is what you get," he says.

What you usually get is the right call. The move to let Pedro Martinez keep pitching in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees is the one folks remember, though.

"It'll be something people talk about for a long time," Little says. "To get the point where we're in the seventh game, I was sitting in the dugout. A lot of people are forming opinions and making comments, but they weren't in that dugout." Runner-up Manager: Ron Gardenhire, Twins.

Starting pitcher
Derek Lowe
, Dodgers.

This guy is one of the best pitchers in baseball nobody ever talks about. He's clutch, he's durable and he's versatile. Plus, he's a major winner.

Since 2002, the three biggest pitching winners in baseball are Roy Oswalt with 84 victories, Randy Johnson with 80 and Lowe also with 80. One of them no one guesses.

"I think if anyone was asked to give the top 10, I wouldn't be mentioned in the top 30," Lowe says. "You can't change people's opinions. Guys who have electric stuff but are inconsistent get talked about."

He says he doesn't know why that is, but he has an idea. "I think it's all about the perception of the strikeout. Guys who strike guys out are remembered," Lowe says. "A guy can go seven and strike out ten or he can go seven and get 15 groundballs. What are people going to remember?"

Like a lot of much bigger stars, Lowe went through a tough breakup with Boston. He blames himself more than anyone. "I didn't pitch very good. I tried too hard to have a career year," says Lowe, who followed an awful 2004 regular season with a 3-0 postseason.

Yet he also decries the system in Boston, where star players' flaws are sometimes aired in the paper before they are let go. He understands the fans' need to know is insatiable in Boston. But that doesn't mean he enjoyed reading what his bosses thought of him.

"The sad thing about being in that market, they have to give the fans reasons why they keep guys or don't keep guys," Lowe says. "As the year went on, I'm reading all this negative stuff. If you want to know where you stand, just read the papers in Boston. When you play in a market like Boston, you know your fate.

"It's too bad they can't ease you out the door," he adds. "They have to slam the door."

Lowe recalls that Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Martinez and Roger Clemens, to separate degrees, also experienced uncomfortable breakups in Boston (and it appears the same may be happening to Curt Schilling). "They said Clemens was washed up, and he's won four Cy Youngs since then," Lowe remarks.

With Lowe, the knocks in the papers were related to off-field issues. "They didn't think I was reliable or trustworthy," he says. "I think a lot of the things they said were incorrect." Incorrect or not, they were wrong to think Matt Clement would be a suitable replacement for Lowe, who remains as reliable and trustworthy as almost anyone on the field, where it counts.

Runner-up Starter: John Lackey, Angels.

Unsung or unheralded, maybe, but I have a difficult time calling a pitcher earning $36 million "unappreciated." Besides, Lowe is our Opening Day starter, a distinction he's earned by virtue of his consistency and durability. Dodger fans can appreciate that.

Pitching Staff Firming Up; Abreu Unbreakable

LA Dodgers 4, Baltimore 2

Dodger Fans Wholeheartedly Agree

Armando Benitez had stern words of warning to the Giants, looking to deal the erratic and extremely large-girthed pitcher:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Armando Benitez doesn't know if he will be traded but said the Giants would be making a big mistake if they let him go.

"I'll tell you something: You'll see this year what I do -- all you guys," said Benitez, after allowing a run on three soft singles Thursday. "You'll say, 'He told me.'"...

"(Bochy) needs me, I do it. If I feel healthy and good, I don't worry about this."

Benitez isn't worrying about a trade, either.

"I understand the situation. I (won't) be (ticked) off," Benitez said. "I've been in this business for 13 years. It wouldn't be the first time I've been traded. But it'd be a mistake."

Hey, we agree. Keep him, Bochy. On behalf of Dodger fans everywhere.

A Self-Referential Post

You know, we here at SoSG have gotten hat tips, and even the occasional fist pound (brother!). But I think this is our first recorded "chest bump."

Clearly, Larry Brown doesn't know us very well, as if anyone actually chest bumped us, it would send us flying through the room in the other direction. Still, we're appreciative. Thanks!

We are still waiting for our eye wink, closed-fist-to-jaw-in-slow-motion, and nipple twist.

Pay No Attention to the (0-for-19) Man behind the Curtain

Tony Jackson of the Daily News wrote that Grady Little is "unconcerned" about Andre Ethier's latest streak of 19 hitless at bats, which includes seven strikeouts.

"We know what this kid can do," Little said. "He will have his ups and downs, just like any other player. He is a good hitter."

Believe it or not, I'm not going to comment on how Little's tendency to stick with someone through thick and thin. In Ethier's case, we can be patient. But if we've learned from his performance last year, Ethier is nothing if not streaky--so he might as well get those bad streaks out of his system in Vero Beach.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kuo Cedes Spot for Fifth Starting Pitcher

It's as if the Dodgers pitchers hadn't seen what had happened to Eric Gagne at the end of his Dodger tenure. TELL THE TRAINER IF YOU FEEL A STRAIN!!!

Hong-Chih Kuo feels a strain in his arm. He doesn't tell the trainers. He pitches again.

And sure enough, Kuo will miss his next start and possibly two weeks due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder, found by a MRI scan.

The muscle strain he suffered last week will cause him to miss his next start and possibly the next couple of weeks, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Friday. With less than a week before the Dodgers break camp, that effectively takes Kuo out of the running for a starting spot that could now go to either Brett Tomko (5.14 ERA this spring) or left-hander Mark Hendrickson (5.40).

"The days are growing a little bit short to think he'll factor into that right now," Manager Grady Little said of the fifth-starter competition.

Kuo, a lefty, said he first felt the strain after giving up three home runs in a rain-shortened game against the Boston Red Sox but failed to inform Dodgers trainers about it. Kept in the dark, the team allowed Kuo to pitch Wednesday against the New York Mets. He threw four wild pitches and walked four batters in three innings.

With Rafael Furcal and Jason Repko going down this week, the Dodgers' lineup is starting to get porous. I hope Stan Conte is watching like a hawk.

This leaves Brett Tomko and Mark Hendrickson to "fight" for the last spot in the starting rotation. Both have pitched well, and poorly, this spring. Yikes.

West Coast Hoop Fever Puts Hardball on Hiatus

Let's face it, you know D-Lowe, Schmitty, Nomar and the boys are all following the NCAA tournament closer than they are worrying about this morning's split squad game. Now whether they'd let the Sons know how they filled out their brackets is another matter. Do they show the sophistication to give due respect to the L.A. programs? Do they play favorites to Florida since they're training in Vero Beach? Did Brad Penny use his bracket as an archery target? Inquiring minds want to know. Don't even get me started about Veinticuatro's latest outburst. . .

Donnelly Making Up for Playoff Baserunning Gaffe?

From Steve Henson at the L.A. Times:

During batting practice, [Grady] Little was heckled by a fan about not removing Pedro Martinez from Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. Third base coach Rich Donnelly came to Little's defense and the fan was escorted out of the stadium.

Bullpen Solid

Dodgers have total confidence in 'pen: Development of Billingsley adds to already solid relief corps (

Kemp Homers; Lowe Strong

LA Dodgers 6, Florida 2

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hi, I'm Luis Gonzalez. You Might Remember Me from Such Teams as the Arizona Diamondbacks

Baseball America: Dodgers #1 in NL West

From Baseball America's "National League Preview":

QUICK TAKE: The Dodgers integrated lots of young talent while making the playoffs a year ago. Look for them to do more of the same in 2007.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: C Russell Martin. He received only one rookie of the year vote in 2006, but don’t be shocked if he receives stronger support for the MVP award this season. He’s a standout offensive and defensively, and he’s already a team leader at age 24.

(Thanks to DT poster Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh for the tip. Guess that's why DT is kicking ass in that poll.)

Injury Update

Everybody's hurt.

Shoulder an issue for Kuo: Left-hander to get an MRI; fifth starter still up in the air (

Painful day for Dodgers Furcal, Repko: Shortstop injures ankle in collision; outfielder later hurts leg (

When your healthiest guys are Gonzo and Nomar, something's not quite right.

Yeah, Right

From "Red Sox will send Papelbon back to bullpen" (AP/

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jonathan Papelbon's conversion from closer to starter didn't last long.

Papelbon is heading back to Boston's bullpen to fill a major void, though he isn't doing it because an injury to Mike Timlin left the Red Sox without a closer.

"I haven't been sleeping well because there's been that feeling deep down in my heart that I wanted to close," Papelbon said after the Phillies and Red Sox played to a 4-4 tie in 10 innings Thursday.

(Bold type ours.) Yuck, who would want the glamour and higher salary of a starting pitcher? That would make me lose sleep for sure.

Dodger Bats in Midseason Form


Dammit, Furcal, At Least Save It for the Season

From Ken Gurnick at

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal was carted off the field with a left ankle injury sustained when he collided with center fielder Jason Repko in the first inning of Thursday's game against Baltimore.

The initial diagnosis was a sprained ankle. Furcal was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

Furcal was racing into shallow center field and Repko was charging for Corey Patterson's blooper when Repko slid and appeared to pin Furcal's left foot on the ground as they made contact. Furcal grabbed his left leg and rolled in pain until teammates and trainers attended to him.

#4 with a Bullet poll: Which blog or fan site has the best Dodgers info? (pops)

Look out, DD, DT and TB...our legion(s) of reader(s) (i.e., our moms) have yet to vote....

For Your Consideration

We all adore For Love of the Game star Vin Scully (who's much more articulate and brawnier than Vin Diesel). But with Mr Scully cutting down his workload (and his fear of kryptonite lurking east of the Rockies), the Dodgers will need to consider finding a new voice. May I suggest... ZARDOZ!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Penny Tweaked; Kuo, Dessens Weak


Meet Your New Cap

Another Crazy-Ass Former-Dodger-to-Mets Rumor

From MLB Trade Rumors:

Mondesi To The Mets?

You know I love following the unlikely comeback stories of the spring. Our subject today is 36 year-old outfielder Raul Mondesi, last seen in the Majors with the Braves in 2005.

My Spanish is a little rusty, but here's the El Nuevo Dia article announcing his possible comeback. According to the article, Mondesi is in negotiations with the Mets and an unknown Japanese club. He should probably opt for Door #2.

That would be awesome. A Mets team with Mondesi, Shawn Green, Paul Lo Duca and Chan Ho Park? Time to party like it's 1999!

Sports Illustrated Predicts Dodgers #1 in NL West, #4 Overall

Sports Illustrated's MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

Answer the Question, Frank

From the transcript of Frank McCourt's latest chat at

gstjohn: Coming from real estate development, what inspired you to get in the baseball business? Of all the clubs, why choose L.A.?

McCourt: My grandfather was an owner with the Boston Braves many years ago. I grew up loving the game and buying the Dodgers was like a dream come true.

"Well, you see, they were all sold out of Red Sox franchises, but Jamie noticed that there was a Dodger team for sale...."

Comment of the Week

The latest CotW comes from our most recent Weekend Conversation. It's a two-parter, so pay attention.

First up is Ernest from Blue Heaven:

I hate the Giants!

Batting second, "Burt Hooten":

I burn with anger that the Giants have the temerity to exist

Just a little vitriol to tide us over until Opening Day....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caption Contest

Above: A shot of Manny Ramirez during an actual Red Sox game.

Cardinals crap on Dodgers

Ahh, the official first day of spring and today that meant Its Time for Dodger Baseball! KCAL showed the Dodgers vs. Cardinals game with Vin Scully doing the calls. Plus I got to see our "A" team and with only 11 days left till the opener in Milwaukee, this should be a pretty good game. Couldn't have been better, right? Well, I had to sit through 9 innings of Cardinal domination. This was a painful game to watch, why?

I had to watch Hendrickson pitch underhand again. You are no Randy Johnson. I think the Lakers are looking for a big man.

I had to watch Scott Spiezio with his red goatee. Goatees in general are wrong, but RED? Come on.

I had to watch Saito give up a dinger to Chris Duncan that I think landed at the new Dodger spring training facility in Arizona.

I had to watch the Dodgers hit into five double plays - I thought Eric Karros was retired?

I had to watch Marlon Anderson play second base like Loney plays the outfield - two errors on two consecutive plays. The second play he threw it to a phantom second baseman and into leftfield. Nice fundamental baseball.

Plus there was a call-in poll to see how many games people thought the Dodgers were going to win this year. 55% of fans think they are going to win more than 93 games this season. I guess those people weren't watching this game.

Take That, Gonzo

From's "Truth & Rumors" column:

Despite threats from many fans they wouldn't be back this year because the Diamondbacks decided to part ways with Luis Gonzalez, ticket sales are selling much better than expected.
-- Arizona Republic

Ha ha, we lied, you mean nothing to us. Maybe Gonzo can commiserate with former fan favorite Shawn Green?

The Parking Game

In Los Angeles, this counts as news: Via Dodger Thoughts comes the Dodgers' new parking lot plan. Strangely, the $40 "all-you-can-park" option is absent.

A Little More

Dodgers exercise Little's '08 option (AP/

Truth is Stranger

Bob Uecker stalker gets warning at Brewers game.

That's not a typo.

Bob Uecker stalker gets warning at Brewers game.

The baseball team notified the Phoenix police that Ann E. Ladd was at Monday's game, Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said Tuesday. A restraining order issued in September bars Ladd from games Uecker is announcing and requires her to stay at least 500 feet away from him.

The 73-year-old Uecker has said Ladd stalked him for six or seven years, seeking his autograph, sending him unwanted gifts and appearing at ballparks and hotels where he was staying.

Ladd, 45, has described herself as a Brewers fan. Calls to her home in Prospect Heights, Ill., went unanswered Tuesday.

Allegedly, those unwanted gifts were copies of Major League II. Questions abound at Ms. Ladd's reason for the stalking - being a lifelong fan of the hapless Brewers, or Mr Belvedere. Next time, maybe she should shell out $7.49 and buy his autograph on ebay (with shipping!).

Forecasts Aplenty

From "It's anyone's ball game: Freeway World Series beckons as parity grips MLB" by Tom Verducci at

This just in: The Yankees probably won't win this year, either, even if they do have the best team on paper heading into Opening Day. The World Series? It'll be all SoCal -- the Angels over the Dodgers. Why? Because the best team doesn't win any more; teams with young legs do. These are five reasons why the game has changed to the point that the Yankees' philosophy is obsolete.

Verducci's reasons?

1. Better distribution of revenues and information. (Translation: better distribution of talent.)
2. The postseason is a crapshoot.
3. The best team doesn't win.
4. Franchise turnarounds are common.
5. Experience is overrated.

Not exactly a vote of confidence for having the best team, but if it results in the World Series, I'll take it.

On the other hand, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA Depth Charts paints a much bleaker picture. Namely, this order of finish for the NL West:

  • Diamondbacks
  • Padres
  • Rockies
  • Dodgers
  • Giants

Meanwhile, Jerry Crasnick at notes, "Dodgers' prospects earning mixed spring reviews."

A Broken Heart in My Junk E-mail Box

How are you? My name is Alena. I from Russia, city Cheboksary. To me 28 years. I shall tell to you about myself a little.

Hi, Alena! My name is Orel. I from the States, city Los Angeles. GO BLUE! WHOO HOO! Oops, excuse me. Anyhoo, I see you hail from Chewbacca. He's one of my favorite pitchers of the baseball.

I corresponded with the man from the your country before. His name Mark. He is from your country. We had a long correspondence and Mark wanted, that I have arrived to him in the your country that I have seen what life there. We have together submitted the statement on reception of the visa in your country! Mark spoke, that will help my in our meeting. I thought, that have met on the Internet the love.

Damn you, Mark! Bastard!

I, too, have thought, that have met on the Internet the love. Namely here and here. But Tom Brady impregnated them first.

I and Mark made the big plans for the future, but in a flash all has changed. From the moment of submission of the statement for the application of the visa has passed 5 months. For these five months there was for what I least waited. Mark informed, that his former wife has returned to him and lives together with him. Soon they should get married. And now in Mark plans there is no me. I wrote to him some times after that, but Mark have wished me only good luck in the further searches worthy men and have told, that our ways miss. And in October to me there has come the invitation in embassy behind reception of the visa.

Alana, baby, let me tell you a little about life. In life, the proper phrasing is "me and Mark." That'll learn ya to speak English like a real American girl.

Secondly, a little something about men. Sometimes when a man, let's call him Mark, is lonely, or when his wife, let's call her Mindy, isn't, ahem, "in the mood" (damn you, Mindy!), or it's "that time of month" (damn you, Mindy!), or maybe Mindy's on a "business trip" with a "certain male colleague" who's "taller" and "more handsome" than you—er, Mark—sometimes a man needs to reach out, via the wonders of broadband, and start shopping for a hot Russian wife. But sometimes Mindy comes rushing back to Mark because it turns out her co-worker is actually gay and was just using her to get a promotion. What I'm trying to say, Alanna, is people change, hairstyles change, interest rates fluctuate.

In the beginning I wanted to throw out the invitation in embassy. To me it was sad, because my dreams were failed, I have nobody to fly in the your country. But my uncle have dissuaded me from resolute actions and have told, that else there is a chance to find worthy the man and to use the visa to a meeting with him. I well know English and practically I have visa your country. My uncle speaks, that it really solves many problems.

Yes, you certainly do well know English.

Approximately in 7 days the visa will be ready, and I should go to Moscow behind reception of the visa. I write to you because in my heart there is an empty seat. I do not search rich or poor. I search careful and responsible man which wants to enjoy a life together. Is this person you? I think, that I ask not much. I have told to you a little about my life. I have told not all about myself, but it will be easier to me to write about myself if you will ask questions which interest you. I have told to you my history, and now I shall look forward to hearing from you with impatience. Write to me! I shall send you more photo in the following letter. I wait you answer. Alena.

"In my heart there is an empty seat." That brings tears to my eyes, Atlanta. It reminds me of another poet, one who said, "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car."

Hey! Hey! You! You! Get into my car!

In fact, Oleanna, you've inspired me....

I used to think that love was just a fairy tale
Until that first hello until that first smile
But if I had to do it all again I wouldn't change a thing
Cause this love is everlasting

Suddenly life has new meaning to me
There's beauty up above and things we never take notice of
You wake up suddenly you're in love

Girl you're everthing a man could want and more
One thousand words are not enough to say what I feel inside
Holding hands as we walk along the shore
Never felt like this before now you're all I'm living for

Each day I pray this love affair would last forever
There's beauty up above and things you never take notice of
You wake and suddenly you're in love

Excuse me, Olean...I need a moment (sniffle). If you ever make it to L.A., give me a call and I'll take you to a Dodger game.

vr, Orel