Note to Torre

When Joe Torre arrived in his office after the Dodgers’ Opening Day 5-0 win over San Francisco, he found a note on his desk. It said: “We eat, we win.” It was from B.C. – Billy Crystal – who’s a good friend of Torre’s.
“That goes back a long time,” Torre said. “We had lunch one day, and we won the game that night. I don’t know if it’s superstition. It’s more an expression than reality. Now, if we just if we talk about eating together. He’s a dear friend.”
Speaking of eating, Torre said he would go out to eat tonight with his family, which included many of his relatives from Cincinnati. He said he has many favorite eateries in L.A. because you can sit outside. However, he said his group will probably be in the back of a restaurant somewhere.

One down, 162 to go

As anyone who is around this game on a regular basis will tell you, the best game of any baseball season is Game 2. If opening day is sensory overload, Game 2 is sweet normalcy, and I can’t wait to get here tomorrow. As for the rest of today, well, let’s just say there is a lot of work to be done. … Anyway, one thing that was really, really encouraging today was the way the Dodgers worked Zito, getting his pitch count to 87 by the time he was pulled after just five innings. The philosophy behind that strategy is that you get a starter out of the game early and get to the middle relief. Well, the Dodgers actually scored four of their five runs off Zito and only one off middle reliever Merkin Valdez. But the strategy is a proven one, and if the Dodgers can keep it up, it will serve them very well as the season goes along. … By the way, I can’t stop myself from pointing out that Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre now have exactly the same number of hits this season.

Tying up loose ends

The Dodgers did officially purchase the contracts this morning of infielder Blake DeWitt and Angel Chavez, and DeWitt is in the starting lineup at 3B, batting eighth, for better or worse. “We’re not askign him to do anything other than play the position,” Joe Torre said. “We don’t want him to carry us or do anything extraordinary.” Chavez was taken over Ramon Martinez because Martinez basically because he gives the club more roster flexibility, which is important given that either one would be going back to Triple-A eventually. By adding Martinez to the 40-man roster, the Dodgers would risk losing him when they try to outright him back to the minors because he has enough big-league service time that he could simply refuse the outright, become a free agent and keep his major-league salary for the entire season. Chavez doesn’t have enough service time to do that. … There are indications DeWitt’s stay might be a short one, even though Torre admitted this morning that Nomar will need a rehab assignment before he is activated, which means he isn’t going to be activated anytime soon because he isn’t even close to being ready for game action. But Marcus Giles is still a free agent, has been ever since the Rockies released him on Tuesday. It would make sense if the Dodgers were to sign him and send him to Vegas for a few days to see if he could master playing 3B, where he has made nine career appearances, none since 2005. Then, if he proves he is even adequate, they could bring him up after a few days and stick him in the lineup.

Dodgers 8, Red Sox 0

Kuroda/Kershaw flirted with a no-hitter before Clayton ultimately gave up a one-out single to Bobby Kielty in the eighth, but Kuroda, Kershaw and Falkenborg ultimately combined one a one-hitter, and the Dodgers finished the spring 11-18-4. … It LOOKS LIKE Angel Chavez has made the team. He is a non-roster infielder about whom I don’t believe I have written a single word this spring. He is 26, from Panam and spend his entire career in the Giants chain until the past two years, when he logged time with the Phillies, Orioles and Yankees affiliates. He has 10 major-league games, all in 2005 with the Giants. … Jason Repko was optioned to Las Vegas after the game, so the Dodgers now have a 24-man roster plus Chavez and DeWitt, and the final move won’t be made until Ned is sure he isn’t making a trade. Tony Abreu will be DL’d, and I’m guessing Jason Schmidt will be placed on the 60-day DL, which will clear a second 40-man spot (Rudy Seanez’s release on Wed. cleared the first one), so the club can purchase the contracts of both Chavez and DeWitt. … Interesting subplot of tomorrow’s pitching matchup: both Barry Zito and Brad Penny are ex-boyfriends of Alyssa Milano. Wonder for whom she’ll be rooting. I guess whichever breakup was the least messy.

Ethier is Dodgers left fielder

Joe Torre broke the news to Juan Pierre this morning. “He just said `OK,’ but I know he is disappointed, and that’s fine,” Torre said. “You don’t want a guy sitting on your bench who just accepts being on the bench.” Torre said JP will be a regular bench player, pinch hitting, etc. “Before it’s all said and done, we’re going to get contributions from a lot of people,” Torre said. … In other moves, the team reassigned Brian Falkenborg, Mike Koplove, Greg Jones, Clayton Kershaw, Chan Ho Park, Rene Rivera, Danny Ardoin and Rene Rivera and disabled Nomar, LaRoche and Schmidt. The guess here is that Park will be the first guy called up when the team decides to add a 12th pitcher, something Torre acknowledged will probably happen in the next week or two. For now, Park is slated to start the Vegas season opener on Thursday at home against Salt Lake. … Tony Abreu also is expected to be DL’d by tonight, and there are more cuts yet to be made. But Torre said there also could still be a last-minute trade. For now, Chin-lung Hu is on the team as an extra infielder. Angel Chavez, a non-roster infielder, still hasn’t been cut, either.

Red Sox 7, Dodgers 4

First Boston victory in four meetings between the clubs this spring. I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail on this one because, well, let’s face it, opening day is about 38 hours and 42 minutes away, and it just doesn’t matter anymore. But the Dodgers fall to 10-18-4 for the spring. … They are now playing some horrendous hiphop song on the sound system here that seems to be called Go Dodgers Go, and I am hoping with every fiber of my being that they’re not planning on playing that after every game this year. There is too much artificial noise at Dodger Stadium already, and the last thing we need to hear every night is some contrived song to celebrate a home team that shouldn’t need to be celebrated beyond the games it wins and the cheers of its adoring fans. Besides, what’s wrong with Randy Newman’s I Love L.A., the song they have been playing after every home win for at least as long as I have been on the beat? It’s a decent song that doesn’t offend the senses. Just stick with that, and don’t fix what isn’t broken. … But Go Dodgers Go isn’t even the worst thing that happened tonight. That was that they played Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline in the eighth inning. I mean, they play that song at FENWAY PARK, and the Dodgers were playing the RED SOX. But then, given the people who are running this organization now, I guess whatever the Red Sox do is going to become whatever the Dodgers do. So much for originality.

Dodger Stadium mess

Melissa Lalum reports that some fans waited two hours in line to take a shuttle from Dodger Stadium to the
Coliseum.
Mike Barraza, 30, of Los Angeles, has been a Dodgers fan ever since the
days of Fernando Valenzuela. But he wasn’t a fan of the Dodgers free shuttle service.

“I got in line at 5:30, I’m hoping to arrive by 8 p.m,” Barraza said.
“Very poor organization. The line is moving fast, but they’re
definitely overwhelmed.”

Kareem’s first pitch

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar threw out a pitch between innings, and let’s just say it’s a good thing he stuck to basketball. His first pitch was a one-hopper to the left of the bag. But when he jokingly used a hook shot to get the ball to home plate, he was almost right on the money to catcher Russell Martin, although Martin was a few feet in front of home plate.

Old buddies

Boston manager Terry Francona and Dodgers manager Joe Torre were talking behind the batting page talking. As they were leaving, Francona put his arm around Torre and jokingly jostled him around and said: “Hey, I can do that now.”
As you know, Torre used to manage the Yankees and such fun between the rival managers would’ve been frowned upon.