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.
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:
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:
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:
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.