At least two players, Brett Tomko and Luis Gonzalez, were upset with the media for going back to Mark Sweeney today to ask him about last night’s baserunning mistake that ended the game. Their point was that it was over, and we should all just move on. In a way, they were right. But Sweeney didn’t talk about it last night. In fact, he didn’t come out of the video room until all the media had left the clubhouse. The reason we want to talk to players after a mistake like that is to get their side of the story and find out why they did what they did. It’s a fairness thing — fairness to the player. You don’t want to make assumptions about why he did what he did. Good reporting involves going straight to the source and asking him.
By Tony Jackson
The Dodgers could not agree to terms with right-hander Kyle Blair, their fifth-round selection in this year’s amateur draft out of Los Gatos High, before Wednesday night’s deadline for signing 2007 draft picks. As a result, Blair will honor his scholarship to the University of San Diego and be ineligible to re-enter the draft until the summer of 2010.
The Dodgers ultimately balked at giving Blair what was believed to be a $1.1 million signing bonus that was well beyond Major League Baseball’s prescribed range — or “slot” — for a fifth-rounder. But Blair would have gone in one of the first two rounds if clubs hadn’t been concerned with his signability after he let it be known before the draft he was seeking a bonus in the $1.5 million range.
“I think like any player, there was that goal on Kyle’s part of being a major-league baseball player,” said Brodie Van Wagenen, the New York-based agent who was advising Blair. “But now, he will have to delay that for three years before he has a chance to sign with a major-league organization. Kyle was prepared to not receive what he was looking for, and he is definitely ready to go on with his life.”
Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White said the negotiations ended amicably.
“We wish Kyle Blair the best and know he is going to have a good career,” White said. “He is a good kid. I talked to Kyle, and there is disappointment all around that we weren’t able to get it done. But there certainly is a positive feeling toward Kyle, and I think he feels the same way toward us.”
Standing up: After declining to speak with the media following his inexplicable baserunning gaffe that led to a game-ending double play on Tuesday night against Houston, the Dodgers’ Mark Sweeney did explain himself before Wednesday night’s game.
“It was a mistake I made, and there is nothing I can do about it now,” Sweeney said. “It was an embarrassing moment, obviously. There are no excuses.”
Sweeney said he somehow had it in his mind that there were two outs. It isn’t clear whether first-base coach Mariano Duncan reminded Sweeney before the play there was only one out, and Duncan declined comment after the game. But that still doesn’t explain why Sweeney broke on what was clearly a foul ball by Juan Pierre and got doubled off first.
Sweeney had been inconsolable after the game. He reportedly destroyed a couple of pieces of his own equipment in a profanity-laced tirade in the clubhouse tunnel, then sat in the video room in stunned silence for more than a half-hour.
Abreu back: Infielder Tony Abreu went 2 for 4 with a double and three runs scored for Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday night in a 10-4 win at Colorado Springs. It was Abreu’s first game action since he was optioned on July 18 because he had claimed during that time he was still suffering from an abdominal injury he had battled — and come back from — during his time in the major leagues.
Davis released: The Dodgers released veteran catcher Ben Davis, who batted .218 in 36 games at Las Vegas. The move was made to clear a roster spot for Chad Moeller, the catcher the Dodgers acquired last week from Cincinnati’s Triple-A Louisville affiliate. Moeller made his debut for the 51s on Tuesday, going 2 for 3 with an RBI.
The Dodgers are expected to promote one of the 51s’ catchers, Moeller or Ken Huckaby, to the majors for the September roster expansion.