Bud Selig statement regarding the impending sale of the Dodgers.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement Wednesday, posted on MLB.com:

“It is extraordinarily exciting for Major League Baseball that Magic Johnson, a beloved figure in Los Angeles and around the world, has entered into an agreement, along with Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, that would make them a part of our national pastime.

“I believe that a man of Magic’s remarkable stature and experience can play an integral role for one of the game’s most historic franchises, in a city where he is revered. Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and Magic Johnson is a living embodiment of so many of the ideals that are vital to our game and its future.

“The interest in this franchise and its historic sale price are profound illustrations of the great overall health of our industry. This has been a long, difficult process, and I once again want to thank the great Dodger fans for their loyalty and patience.”

So Magic Johnson owns the Dodgers. What’s next?

In case you missed it, a group led by Magic Johnson was selected as the next owner of the Dodgers tonight. Here are the preliminary details.

There are some good questions that remain to be answered as of this moment.Why did the deal go down so soon after Major League Baseball owners approved the final three groups of bidders? What were Frank McCourt’s sticking points? What will the team’s next television package look like, and does the incoming ownership group already know?

If these questions haven’t been answered by the time McCourt and the Guggenheim Group sit down for a press conference later this week in Los Angeles (the exact date and location are TBA), they will be asked with Magic Johnson and his cohorts on the dais.

Here are some things we do know:
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Padres 6, Dodgers 5.

Brad Davis’ walk-off double against Francisco Felix –a call-up from the Dodgers’ minor-league camp –scored Beamer Weems and Daniel Robertson and lifted the San Diego Padres to a 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth inning before an announced crowd of 4,740 at Peoria Sports Complex. [box score]

If those names sound obscure, it’s because they are. The game featured plenty of minor-leaguers on both sides, including six for the Dodgers as a number of regulars got the day off. That included third baseman Juan Uribe, who became a late lineup scratch after a bunted ball hit him in the groin during a practice Tuesday morning.

Juan Rivera hit his team-leading fourth Cactus League home run, a solo shot in the fourth inning off Padres starter Casey Kelly. The Dodgers totaled 15 hits, including three from Rivera, two from A.J. Ellis, Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier.

All of the Dodgers’ projected starters got a day off, and no pitcher –including starter Jamey Wright — pitched more than an inning. Of those, only Wright (1) Ronald Belisario (2), Angel Sanchez (1) and Felix (2) allowed runs.
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Sands optioned; Hawksworth to 60-day DL, Wright added to 40-man.

The Dodgers exercised an option on Jerry Sands today and assigned him to their minor-league camp, reducing the major-league camp roster to 39.

Sands had been hitting .158, his sixth hit in 38 at-bats serving as the game-winning RBI single in yesterday’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

“More than anything, we’ve got to let Jerry in our minds, let him settle down and get his swing back together, let him get to work and just get ready to play,” manager Don Mattingly said.

After Monday’s game, Sands admitted he’s been a bit off while trying to make adjustments to his swing during camp. Visibly, his swing didn’t look the same as it did last season with the Dodgers, when he hit .253 (50-for-198) with four home runs and 26 RBIs.

“Small things can throw big things off,” he said. “Going up to the plate worried about things going on with my swing and not worried about picking up pitches – it’s tougher than it looks up there. I’ve just kind of been out of it so far. I’ve got to get back to seeing some pitches.”

Now he’ll get that chance. Mattingly said that Sands is still the team’s “best option” in the long run to come off the bench and spell Andre Ethier or James Loney against left-handed pitchers.

“We just need to simplify things, get him back to work, get him out of the thought of this team right now,” Mattingly said. “Get him back to where he puts himself back together, and have a shot to be able to help us when he comes back.”

With Sands out, several players are still in the running for the final position player spot on opening day. Mattingly specifically mentioned infielders Justin Sellers, Luis Cruz and Josh Fields. Sellers is on the 40-man roster; Cruz and Fields would need to be added.

“We don’t know who it’s going to be,” Mattingly said.

Additionally, the Dodgers placed Blake Hawksworth on the 60-day disabled list, and officially announced the signing of Jamey Wright and added him to the 40-man roster.
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Dodgers 4, White Sox 3.

Jerry Sands‘ walk-off single drove in pinch-runner Elian Herrera in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Dodgers (11-8-4) to the win before 5,816 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Sands’ single was just his sixth hit in 38 Cactus League at-bats, and it came at a critical time as the roster is trimmed in advance of opening day.

“I’ve been feeling pretty brutal just trying to work on some things,” Sands said. “Changes here and there, just trying to get comfortable now after making some changes, all kinds of stuff. Just trying to get rhythm and timing after making changes is the hardest thing.

With two strikes against him, Sands lined a single into left field that Kosuke Fukudome could not field cleanly, allowing Herrera to score easily from second base. It was only the sixth hit by the Dodgers all afternoon, as starter Chad Billingsley allowed 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

All of those hits were singles, however, and Chicago left nine runners on base. Billingsley also walked two and struck out five.

Dee Gordon stole two bases, giving him a major league-leading 10 this spring. Andre Ethier‘s fifth-inning double was his eighth, tying him for the major league lead with a pair of luminaries, Lorenzo Cain and Matt Carpenter.

A few more notes:

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Bullpen rumblings: Grabow out, Wright in.

The fortunes turned Monday for a pair of non-roster invitees in Dodgers camp: John Grabow opted out of his minor-league contract, and Jamey Wright was on the verge of signing a major-league contract, pending an official announcement from the team.

Grabow, 33, was among a small group of left-handers competing for one open bullpen spot, but has essentially lost the job to Wright despite not giving up a run this spring.

A native of Arcadia and a graduate of San Gabriel High School, Grabow walked one, struck out seven and allowed just four hits. He was eligible to opt out of his contract as a non-roster invitee as early as Sunday, and the move did not seem to catch manager Don Mattingly by surprise.

“He had an option. He exercised it. We kind of talked about it. Ned’s been talking with his agent,” Mattingly said. “Basically, he could do it at any time. He was basically giving us extra time to keep looking at him. He decided at this time to opt out. He’s been good in camp. Lefties, I always count on seeing them again. I figure we’ll see him somewhere down the line.”

Grabow last pitched one-third of an inning Saturday against the Cleveland Indians.
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Dodgers 7, Brewers 6.

The Dodgers got three hits from Dee Gordon, two from Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp, and overcame a rocky start before an announced crowd of 6,348 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Starter Chad Billingsley pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed five hits, three runs (all earned), walked two and struck out four. He also issued a wild pitch and left with the score tied 3-3. He threw 86 pitches — more than any Dodgers starter this spring — and 57 went for strikes.

The right-hander served up a two-run home run to Brooks Conrad in the second inning on a curveball, though Billingsley said the pitch was otherwise working well for him. “I was executing pitches, missing some of them,” he said. “You win some, you lose some.”

Andre Ethier hit his second home run of the spring, a two-run blast in the fifth inning, giving him 10 extra-base hits among 11 this spring. He is hitting .440. Ellis’ sixth-inning double down the left-field line drove in the Dodgers’ sixth and seventh runs.

A few more notes:
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Indians 4, Dodgers 3.

Clayton Kershaw allowed his first run of the spring but overall appeared to be in opening-day form, while the Dodgers’ bullpen struggled in a loss before 3,101 at Goodyear Ballpark. [box score]

Kershaw allowed three hits, walked two and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings in his third spring start. He exited just shy of 80 pitches, which was his limit; Dodgers manager Don Mattingly mistakenly said Kershaw would be limited to 90 earlier Monday.

Javy Guerra entered an immediately served up a long home run to Carlos Santana, the former Dodgers prospect. Kenley Jansen threw a scoreless seventh inning, but Scott Elbert allowed two runs (on two singles and a walk) in the eighth inning.

That proved to be the difference, as the Dodgers’ two-run, ninth inning rally fell short. Justin Sellers went 3-for-4 and five others collected one hit apiece. Some notable 0-fers: Jerry Hairston (0-3), Juan Rivera (0-3) and James Loney (0-2, walk).

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 1, Angels 1 (6).

Less than a half-hour after the final out, the sun was shining brightly over Camelback Ranch. But by then the fans were gone, players were changing into street clothes, and the final score — the Dodgers’ fourth tie of the Cactus League season (8-4-4) — seemed an insignificant afterthought. At least, no one in the press corps seemed bothered by the managers’ decision to end Sunday’s game after five and a half innings.

“We don’t want to sit out there and try to fight weather all day long after being here all day,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The guys who needed work got their work, I’m happy with going home, to be honest with you.”

The actual game recap is a brief one:

The Angels’ Kole Calhoun scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Mark Trumbo. Juan Uribe singled in Adam Kennedy for the Dodgers’ only run in the fifth. Both starting pitchers, Chris Capuano and Anaheim’s Dan Haren, allowed a mere two hits. John Grabow and Mike MacDougal worked one scoreless inning each out of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

After MacDougal’s last pitch, rain (and later hail) began to pelt the field hard enough that a tarp was rolled over the infield 1 hour and 16 minutes after first pitch.

The only semblance of drama for the Dodgers on this day took place before and after the game, when the second round of roster cuts was announced. Four players left the room in the morning, and catcher Gorman Erickson, catcher Matt Wallach, infielder Lance Zawadzki and first baseman Jeff Baisley were re-assigned to the minor league camp. More on that in tomorrow’s editions.

A few more notes:

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Second round of cuts announced.

The Dodgers released left-handed pitcher Alberto Castillo and re-assigned Matt Chico, Ryan Tucker and Will Savage to their minor-league camp. Manager Don Mattingly said more cuts would be announced later in the day.

The Dodgers have a game scheduled for 1 p.m. against the Angels. Despite overnight rains, a tarp kept the field dry and the game is still on as of this moment.

“We didn’t feel like he was going to fit for us, and more than anything it’s kind of fair to him to give him a chance,” manager Don Mattingly said. “People are looking for lefties. We didn’t see him as that guy for us and we didn’t see him as that guy in Triple A waiting around either. We really felt like it was fair to him to get him out on the wire, let people take a look, and give him the best chance to be in the big leagues with somebody.”

As for the next round of cuts, “it’s getting it down to the guys that … have a chance to make our club so we can get down to finishing work, smaller numbers,” Mattingly said.

There are still six catchers listed on the camp roster: Josh Bard, Gorman Erickson, Matt Wallach, Tim Federowicz, Matt Treanor and A.J. Ellis. Only Ellis and Treanor are expected to start the season on the major-league roster, so expect some cuts from this area.

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