I realize this won’t mean much to those of you back in Los Angeles, but I also know this blog has something of a following around the country, and for those who are dealing with winter storms … all I can say is, wish you were here. It’s going hit the high 80s today, a lot of sun, a lot of humidity, a lot of old men wearing plaid shorts with black socks and sandals. I felt it as soon as I walked out of my rented condo this morning, and that was a little before 8. Expecting a long workout today, with any pitcher who hasn’t done so yet throwing live batting practice for the first time. There is a mini-intrasquad game tomorrow (five innings), which will be informal, but it will signal the official start of the evaluation period for team officials. Things are heating up around here, and I don’t just mean the weather.
Traci Repko gave birth, as expected, to a baby boy yesterday up in Washington state. It weighed seven pounds and was named Tyler Jason Repko. His father is expected back in camp in the next day or so. Meanwhile, the Garciaparra twins, Ava and Grace, who will turn a year old on March 27, made their first Dodgertown appearance, being pushed around the back fields in a double stroller this morning by their mother, Mia Hamm. One of the most famous athletes in the world, Mia nevertheless seemed to move about unfettered. It might have helped that a few feet away, a long line had formed at a table where Tommy Lasorda was signing autographs. Forget the estimated $115 million Frank McCourt is spending on this team. Forget the club’s ballyhooed new manager Joe Torre. After all these years, Tommy still owns Dodgertown — and a case could be made that he is still the biggest star here.
Torre says it will create more versatility for a guy who is out of minor-league options and a virtual lock to make the club as a fifth outfielder. Delwyn already is taking grounders at 2B, his original position before moving to the outfield. “Obviously, it could help the ballclub, especially in the National League where you don’t have the DH,” Torre said. “We want to get him back into the infield mix. He started as a second baseman. We just want him to be a guy who has a few different gloves in his locker.” … Short workout today, which Joe said was only because yesterday’s was so long. There will be a longer one tomorrow, then a five-inning intrasquad on Sunday, with a seven-inning intrasquad to follow on Tuesday. That means tomorrow and Monday are the only pure workout days left, because there is a simulated game Wed and the Grapefruit League begins on Thursday against Atlanta.
Josh Rawitch stopped by the work room a few minutes ago to give us the pitching plans for the Dodgers’ intrasquad game on Feb. 26, a simulated game on Feb. 27 and the first two Grapefruit League games with the Braves on Feb. 28-29. Brad Penny will start the intrasquad. Derek Lowe will start the simulated game (opposed by Eric Stults). Chad Billingsley will start against the Braves on the 28th. Hiroki Kuroda will start at the Braves on the 29th. While that would SEEM to suggest that is the season-opening rotation, Josh said that Joe Torre and Rick Honeycutt told him to tell us not to read that much into it. It IS early, and a lot could change between now and opening day. But still, there has to be a reason why this is how they’re starting out.
Dr. Frank Jobe, the world famous orthopedist and longtime Dodgers team physician who invented the now commonly performed Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, has been promoted to special advisor to Dodgers chairman Frank McCourt. What that means isn’t entirely clear, but it does mean the good doctor is being rewarded for his unprecendented and unmatched contributions to the field of sports medicine. “That (new role) hasn’t been completely defined yet,” Jobe said. “When Mr. McCourt comes to camp, we’re going to discuss the details of it.” Jobe said he doesn’t plan to actively practice medicine in the future, but he will continue to see patients on a consultant basis and make recommendations.