On a day when the visiting team at Dodger Stadium had the biggest minor-league call-up of the day –if not the year, given the hype surrounding the 2010 No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper — Nate Eovaldi’s recall made but a small ripple, if one at all.
Eovaldi found out Thursday morning that he was headed to Los Angeles for the first time this season and on Friday the Dodgers officially announced his recall from Double-A Chattanooga. Left-hander Michael Antonini, recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Albuquerque, was optioned back to the Isotopes.
“It was planned from the beginning,” manager Don Mattingly said. “With Atlanta lefty-heavy, we wanted an extra lefty.”
Both he and Eovaldi said the plan hasn’t changed for a pitcher who was tabbed the team’s “sixth starter” coming out of spring training. The 22-year-old had been used primarily as a starter the last two seasons in the minors, and started in six of his 10 appearances last season during an August/September call-up with the Dodgers.
But Eovaldi’s last two starts for the Lookouts lasted only one inning. After the first, he was pulled unexpectedly because of a potentially inhibiting groin injury to Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. In the second (on Wednesday) he was told before the game that he would only be needed for an inning.
This time around, he’s being slotted as an extra arm out the bullpen, which shouldn’t pose a problem.
“My arm’s always been able to get warmed up easily,” Eovaldi said.
Following up on yesterday’s item about Juan Rivera: The veteran said Wednesday that he does not expect to go on the disabled list as a result of the left hamstring soreness that forced him to leave Tuesday night’s game.
“Give me a couple days,” said Rivera, always a man of few words. “Two days.”
Rivera will not play against the Atlanta Braves tonight, but that was a previously planned day off, manager Don Mattingly said. The Dodgers are off Thursday.
Rivera stretched Wednesday with head trainer Sue Falsone and “he did more than she thought he would be able to,” Mattingly said.
One other injury update: Aaron Harang had a large bruise on his left foot after hitting a ball off the foot Tuesday. He isn’t expected to miss his next start.
A couple notes and quotes that won’t make it to print in their entirety …
Matt Guerrier was in the Dodger clubhouse but out of uniform Tuesday night after an MRI earlier in the day revealed no ligament damage in his right elbow. He was diagnosed with tendinitis and placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19.
“For a little bit I thought I was getting back into it, so I pitched through it hoping it would get better,” he said.
By the end of spring training, he added, the injury “was really minor at that point. I was hoping it would work its way out. It didn’t.”
Guerrier confirmed that he would have been available to pitch in an emergency situation Monday night against the Atlanta Braves. But with his recovery period from each outing taking longer than expected, Guerrier agreed it was best to rest.
“You start to put other guys in tough positions in the ‘pen when every day after I pitch I need a day off,” he said.
Major League Baseball released the following statement about a half-hour ago:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Los Angeles Dodgers Minor League pitcher Angel Guzman has received a 50-game suspension after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse.
The suspension of Guzman, who is currently on the roster of Triple-A Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League, is effective immediately.
Guzman is not on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. He signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers in December and was invited to spring training, where he put up good numbers: 5.1 scoreless innings, one hit, no runs, one walk and two strikeouts.
The 30-year-old right-hander last pitched in the majors with the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He split last season between the Cubs-affiliated Peoria Chiefs (Single-A) and Daytona Cubs (High-A).
Guzman was never assigned to the Isotopes but instead remained in extended spring training. A team spokesperson said that the Dodgers were working on “front-side delivery issues” with the pitcher and, if someone got hurt or if the need arose, Guzman could have been sent to Albuquerque or Double-A Chattanooga.
“I knew about it in spring training,” manager Don Mattingly told reporters prior to the Dodgers’ game in Houston. “It’s a unique situation with that kid and it’s a little deeper. There’s more to this story. I really like him, he’s got a great arm and is a hard worker and a great kid. He’s not someone to write off.”
Vin Scully, the consummate professional, confirmed suspicions that he would choose to skip an entire night’s sleep rather than have a hoarse throat during a Dodgers telecast.
“As God as my judge, I did not sleep one wink Saturday night,” Scully said, while sitting in the Vin Scully Press Box as the Dodgers took batting practice on the field below.
“You try not to cough because you know when you’re going to cough, you’re going to become hoarse. So I packed the pillows up to try and prevent myself from coughing. Well I cut down on the coughing but I packed the pillows up so much that I wasn’t sleeping. I went to the ballpark [a week ago] Sunday and I thought, ‘oh, Lord, if I can somehow get through this one.’ We did the game, [Chase] Headley hit the grand slam home run, the Dodgers lost the game and I went home and I was done. I could not have done anything from then on, almost until today.”
The bad cold that forced the 84-year-old broadcaster to miss the Dodgers’ first five home games of the season is gone, and Scully will be calling today’s game against the San Diego Padres on Prime Ticket.
Todd Coffey‘s earned-run average (36.00) is inflamed. Turns out, so is his knee.
Coffey was placed on the 15-day disabled list with anterior knee inflammation and left-hander Ted Lilly was activated from the DL so he can start tonight’s game against the San Diego Padres.
“It’s definitely a situation where if we were later in the season and it had to be pushed through, that’s no problem,” Coffey said. “It seems kind to silly right now to man up, push through something that we could get completely knocked out, ready to go 100 percent.”
It also seems silly to demote Josh Lindblom. The right-hander can be optioned to the minor leagues but is pitching as well as anyone in the Dodgers’ bullpen, having allowed one hit and no runs in four appearances. Coffey, who has surrendered two runs without recording an out in back-to-back outings against the Padres, does not have a minor-league option.
But someone needed to be removed from the active roster Saturday to make room for Lilly and Coffey’s knee gave the Dodgers their out.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is on pace for 81 home runs, 324 RBIs, 41 stolen bases and a .412 batting average.
That’s what happens when you put up monster numbers in the first four games of the season. And when those games constitute the entire first week of the season, you earn National League Player of the Week honors, as Kemp did Monday.
From the official press release:
Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. has it different than any other visiting player at Petco Park.
There is a street outside the stadium named after his father, Tony Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star for the Padres from 1982-2001. Gwynn’s number 19 is retired here, one of six numbers on display above the center-field fence.
But at some point, this has to become second-nature to the 29-year-old baseball progeny, who still calls San Diego home in the off-season — right?
“Not at all,” Gwynn Jr. said. “It’s the opposite of that. It’s a reminder of not only how good he was, but how much love the city of San Diego has for him.”
It reminds him of something else, too.
Don Mattingly declined to go into the specific symptoms of Clayton Kershaw’s stomach flu yesterday — for obvious reasons. It went without saying that Kershaw, who left his scheduled opening-day start after three innings, had to have had a compelling reason to call it a day after throwing just 39 pitches.
Wearing street clothes inside the visitors’ clubhouse Friday at Petco Park, Kerhsaw had no problem elaborating on his miserable opening day.
“Warming up was the worst part,” he said. “I was looking around for where I was going to be able to throw up on the field the whole time.”
Kershaw wanted to go back to his hotel room after exiting the game but said he “couldn’t really get up” after lying down in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. After eventually getting up Kershaw said he threw up, showered, went home and “last night was not very much fun either.”
“I don’t really get sick,” he said. “I can’t even remember the last time I threw up. It was not a fun experience.”
The big question is, can Kershaw make his next scheduled start next Tuesday for the Dodgers’ home opener?