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. … In other development, Rafael Furcal WILL start the season on the DL, and because of the backdating, he is eligible to return on Saturday at the Giants. Wilson Valdez thus made the team, at least temporarily. Furcal, Hong-Chih Kuo, Yhency Brazoban and Jason Repko all were placed on the 15-day DL. Repko isn’t on the 60-day yet because the Dodgers didn’t need that 40-man spot for Bigbie. The Dodgers did have one open 40-man spot, and they used it to purchase the contract of Rudy Seanez. And thus, the roster is set.
PITCHERS (11): Beimel, Billingsley, Broxton, Hendrickson, Lowe, Penny, Saito, Schmidt, Seanez, Tomko, Wolf CATCHERS (2): Lieberthal, Martin
INFIELDERS: (7): Anderson, Betemit, Garciaparra, Kent, Martinez, Saenz, Valdez
OUTFIELDERS (5): Clark, Ethier, Gonzalez, Kemp, Pierre
Thirty-seven hours and 37 minutes to first pitch
And with that, spring training is finally, officially over, six weeks and one day after pitchers and catchers reported to Vero. We have been told that the clubhouse won’t open to the media for a few minutes, obviously so Grady and Ned can tell the players who didn’t make that they didn’t make it. I’ll update as soon as all that becomes official. Dodgers finish the spring 17-16-1. Thirty-eight hours and 24 minutes to first pitch.
Brad Penny went five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits while throwing only 71 pitches. Grady had planned on sticking with him for 90 pitches, but my guess is Penny was too efficient with his pitches and Grady needed to get Tomko in for at least three innings. Tomko pitched a scoreless sixth, but gave up a hit and walked a batter. Meanwhile, Brady Clark just beat out an infield single, snapping a string of 10 consecutive Dodgers batters retired. James Loney’s at the plate right now. With final cuts now about an hour or so away, his stomach must be doing gymnastics. He just singled hard up the middle and is now 2 for 4, raising his average to .414. Angels 3, Dodgers 2, top 7
For the Angels, Gary Matthews, Orlando Cabrera and Vladimir Guerrero already are out of the game. I’m guessing there will be a parade of early exits on both sides in the next couple of innings. Brad Penny is pitching adequately enough that he has yet to give up a run, but he was saved by his defense twice in the third inning. After Matthews doubled with one out, Brady Clark made a diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Guerrero then smoked one to the left side that Wilson Betemit dived into the hole to his left to snare. Betemit got up and threw out Guerrero by a narrow margin. Wilson Valdez and Ramon Martinez, who is out of the game already, have two hits each. Dodgers 2, Angels 0, bottom 4
Due to the fact that the commissioner’s office has suddenly decided to start enforcing the limit on uniformed coaches in the dugout during games. longtime Dodgers fixture Manny Mota won’t be on the bench this season. More notably, he won’t be on the road. At home, Mota will dress for batting practice, hit fungoes, work with hitters in the indoor cages, etc. But when game time comes, he’ll put on his regular clothes and head upstairs to the press box. Rules are rules, I suppose. But this is a case where a good, respected man will be kept from making as much of a contribution to the game as he otherwise could. This game could use some decentralized governing, in my humble opinion. But to his credit, Manny, one of the classiest people I have ever met in this game, seems to be taking it all in stride.
The Dodgers don’t HAVE to set their roster until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, but my guess is it will happen right after the game tonight, because the team is leaving for Milwaukee around 10 tomorrow morning. Can’t imagine they would leave anything unresolved until then. In reality, there really is only one more decision to be made, that being whether to DL Rafael Furcal retroactive to March 21 so Wilson Valdez doesn’t have to be waived, at least not before Furcal comes off the DL on Friday. The club still has to purchase the contracts of Rudy Seanez and Larry Bigbie, but those moves are formalities. There is one 40-man spot already open, and the club will open another by putting Jason Repko on the 60-day DL. Players on the 60-day don’t count against the 40-man limit. Players on the 15-day do. I’ll get this stuff on the blog as soon as I know it. Forty-three hours and 35 minutes to first pitch.
Rudy Seanez, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito combined to retired the final nine Angels batters in order, striking out six of them (two by each pitcher). The Dodgers won a game in this annual exhibition series for the first time since 2003. With that, the Dodgers clinched a winning spring, running their record to 17-15-1 with one game to go … but I’m guessing there isn’t a single player in that clubhouse who knows that, or even cares. Sixty hours and eight minutes until the first real pitch of the Dodgers’ season. Hasta manana.
Russell Martin, who will be the everyday catcher, and Matt Kemp, who won’t make the team but will be a major-league star one day soon, homered in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Kemp’s was a no-doubt, three-run blast deep into the pavilion in left center. James Loney legged out a double, although he might have been out at second if the throw from right field hadn’t been offline. Anyway, with that hit, Loney raised his spring average to .415.
The Dodgers hung nine runs and 11 hits on Ervin Santana in 2 1/3 innings in the kind of offensive display that figures to define this club — stringing together a bunch of singles and doubles and scoring runs in bunches without a single home run. Juan Pierre and Nomar Garciaparra already have three hits apiece. Wilson Betemit has two hits, including a two-run homer, and Olmedo Saenz has two doubles and three RBI. But if you believe the gun readings displayed beneath the leftfield scoreboard, Jason Schmidt’s fastball still is routinely registering in the mid-80s. So far, though, he has only given up one earned run, and that came in an inning when he issued a leadoff walk to Maicer Izturis. Dodgers 9, Angels 2, top 4
They’re still in the hospital, but they’re doing fine, and so is their mom. Their names are Grace and Ava, and their father was beaming in the clubhouse today. “People ask you what it’s like, and I tell them, `You can’t describe it,”’ said Nomar, who experienced it for the first time in his life. For those of us who have gone through it before (especially us dads, who didn’t have to do any of the real work), we know exactly what he was talking about. For those who haven’t, Nomar is exactly right, you can’t describe it. … Just saw the forecast for the three days in Milwaukee. Wednesday: a high of 38 degrees and snow. Good thing they have that retractable roof.