It’s a minor-league deal with major-league terms. What that means, in essence, is that the Dodgers found a way to send him down to Albuquerque for a few days so he can make up for missing almost all of spring training before they call him up. They have to call him up by April 14 or he can opt out. But they WILL call him up by April 14. He’ll get $1.35 million plus incentives based on appearances — although the $1.35 million will be slightly prorated for the two weeks he spends in the minors, during which he’ll receive a prorated share of $13,000/month. There also is a $2.2 million club option for 2010, with a $200,000 buyout. … Also, Shawn Estes has agreed, at least for now, to start the season in Albuquerque as well. So the Dodgers will begin the season without a situational lefty in their bullpen, but only for the first eight days.
We finally got a chance to speak with him for the first time since he broke his leg in that B game with the Brewers back on March 2. He was in a great mood and said he has been told he has a chance to return just after the All-Star break. They put a rod in his leg that will stay there permanently. Just as we suspected, he said he was caught in a moment of indecision between sliding and coming in standing up. He also said he didn’t see an on-deck hitter telling him whether to slide or not. Joe Torre told us at the time that Juan Pierre, the on-deck hitter, was yelling for DeJesus to slide. But apparently DeJesus didn’t see him or couldn’t hear him. The usual procedure is for the on-deck hitter to stand directly behind the plate, on a line with the third-base line, so he is in full view of the hitter. Anyway, we asked DeJesus how he was feeling emotionally.
“Better,” he said. “The first two weeks, I was a little bit down. But now, I’m feeling better because everything is going well. I know people said I would be out the whole season, but that was wrong. I think I’ll be back to doing baseball stuff by May and then be back on the field (in games) after the All-Star break.”
He also said he doesn’t think the missed time will set back his development at all.
DeJesus will be on the field just before game time to receive, for the second year in a row, the Dodgers’ Minor League Player of the Year award for last season. James McDonald will get Pitcher of the Year, and catching prospect Tony Delmonico, last year’s sixth-round draft pick, will get the Rookie of the Year award.
He took ground balls in the main stadium this morning and is expected to get back into Cactus League action either Wednesday against the Giants in Scottsdale or Thursday night against the Angels at Dodger Stadium. But he might go to the minor-league side even sooner than that to get some ABs, so his groin injury apparently has pretty much healed. … By the way, Russell Martin has the flu. He is still in today’s lineup for now, but that is subject to change. … With the team in Arizona for the first time, there is no team flight back to Los Angeles when camp breaks. Basically, most of the players want to drive their cars to L.A., so they’re on their own as far as getting there. They’ll go in waves. For instance, Matt Kemp and James Loney will make the trip to Tucson tomorrow, and as a reward for putting themselves through that, they’ll be allowed to drive to L.A. from there after leaving the game, so they’ll be long gone by the time the Dodgers play the Giants in Scottsdale the following day.