Grady Little just said that if Rafael Furcal can’t go in Monday’s opener at Milwaukee, Juan Pierre will lead off, with Russell Martin batting second. Wilson Betemit then will hit sixth behind Luis Gonzalez, with Andre Ethier batting seventh. Ramon Martinez, and not Wilson Valdez, will play shortstop and bat eighth because Grady says he wants to go with the veteran player in an opening-day game, although that could change for Game 2 on Tuesday night. Plus, there still is no guarantee Valdez will even be on the team. Grady also said he still hasn’t decided how to slot Betemit and Ethier into the seven and eight holes when everyone is healthy. He said earlier in camp that he is leaning toward Ethier seventh and Betemit eighth, but it was the other way around on Friday night. … Meanwhile, no one seems too upset over Nick Gorneault plowing into Mike Lieberthal in the eighth inning, even though it was a meaningless exhibition game. “That’s the way you play baseball on the field, no matter when it is,” Little said. … Dodgers fell to 16-15-1 for the spring, and they still haven’t won a Freeway Series game since 2003.
Larry Bigbie entered the game defensively in the sixth, then led off the bottom of the inning with a single, raising his spring average for the moment to .364. Chad Billingsley faced the minimum for three innings, allowing one hit and one walk. Tsao on now, whiffed Mike Napoli to start the seventh. Still no offense to speak of against Hector Carrasco, Scott Shields and Chris Bootcheck. Angels 3, Dodgers 1, top 7
Randy Wolf gave up three runs on five hits and two walks over the first two innings, then retired the final four batters he faced in an abbreviated, final tuneup before he makes his official Dodgers debut on Tuesday night at Milwaukee. Chad Billingsley has faced the minimum over two innings, with one runner caught stealing and another erased in a double play. The offense has done little against Hector Carrasco and Scott Shields, managing just three hits. Angels 3, Dodgers 1, bottom 5
Almost forgot about the other game, back in Vero, where a skeleton crew of Dodgers took it on the chin. David Newhan, the Pepperdine product, went 4 for 4 with two homers for the Amazin’s. For the Bums, Chin-lung Hu went 3 for 5 and is hitting .381 (8 for 21) in the handful of big-league games he has appeared in. Marlon Anderson went 2 for 3 to raise his average all the way to .182. Matt Kemp homered. And Joe Mays pitched four innings, allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Dodgers are 16-14-1 pending the outcome of the Freeway Series opener, where it’s scoreless after one.
The home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, whch is cramped anyway, is even moreso this weekend because of all the players the Dodgers brought to the Freeway Series — some of whom were never in big-league camp in the first place. The Dodgers took what might have been the longest session of pregame batting practice in the history of baseball just to give everyone a chance in the cage. But if you want to glimpse the future, this weekend would be a good time. Ivan DeJesus Jr. is here, although you probably will be able to see him this summer at Inland Empire in San Bernardino. Tony Abreu is here, as well. Those two could form the Dodgers’ middle infield for years to come, although Chin-lung Hu has been Abreu’s DP partner all the way through the minors. With several of their long-awaited prospects now blossoming in the big leagues, the Dodgers are done looking to the future. But even if they aren’t looking, the future still looks pretty bright.