Mark Loretta update and some other stuff

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.

Jeff Weaver looks like a lock for opening-day roster

He’s pitching in a minor-league game today so they can stretch him out to three innings in anticipation of using him as a long man out of the bullpen or possibly giving him a spot start now and then. But he clearly has this team made as a reliever, even though no one has come out and actually said it yet.
“He has been pretty consistent for me, without telling you he is on the club,” Joe Torre said this morning. “I think doing what we’re doing today (is telling). Normally, you want to see somebody pitch against big-league clubs, but this is more of a physical thing. I would like to see him stretch it out.”
Weaver’s minor-league deal, which surprisingly didn’t include an out clause if he didn’t make the team, does include a clause stating that he will receive a base salary of $500,000 if he makes the club, with no additional incentives.
Meanwhile, Torre reiterated this morning that Jason Schmidt and Delwyn Young likely will begin the season on the disabled list. But it looks like Claudio Vargas will be ready to go. He shut himself down with elbow pain three days ago, but Stan Conte said an MRI showed nothing more serious than inflammation and that Vargas feels much better today. He was expected to play catch on the back fields during today’s workout.

Back in the saddle, one week to go

After a few days off, I’m returning to the beat today. Thanks for Ramona Shelburne for so capably filling in while I was away. This is the fun week of spring training for those of us who follow it on a daily basis — although it isn’t that much fun for the handful of players who inevitably will be cut later this week, as the opening-day roster is expected to be finalized by late Saturday night. Three more days in AZ, then back to Los Angeles for a handful of exhibitions starting Thurs. night. The opener is one week from today. Hard to believe.