Scott Elbert underwent a left elbow arthroscopy today in Los Angeles, leaving the Dodgers without one of their top left-handed relievers to start spring training. He is not expected to be ready by opening day, according to a source.
The 40-minute procedure was performed by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache after a new area of cartilage damage was discovered and debrided. Elbert, who had a different elbow procedure Sept. 19 that ended his 2012 season, will start his physical therapy in three days and a throwing program in six weeks.
Elbert, 27, went 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 43 relief appearances last season. Right-handers hit .170 against him and lefties hit .271 – a strange split for a southpaw. He and J.P. Howell were expected to be the team’s top left-handed relievers.
In a crowded Dodgers bullpen, at least two players’ chances of making the opening day roster just improved.
Left-hander Paco Rodriguez allowed one run in 11 appearances over 6 2/3 innings as a rookie last year, though his control wavered against right-handers in a small sample size (two unintentional walks in 2 2/3 innings). Right-hander Shawn Tolleson had more success against right-handers out of the bullpen as a rookie (.152 batting average) but was atrocious against left-handers (.316). Non-roster invitee Peter Moylan, aiming to re-establish himself after a series of injuries cut short his time in Atlanta, could also grab a spot.
Justin Sellers’ arrest in West Sacramento last weekend made us wonder what the Southern California native was doing there in the first place, and just how bad his motorcycle excursion was in order to prompt an arrest.
This news report from CBS Sacramento provides some answers. Turns out that Sellers has a condominium in the city, and his motorcycle riding was bothering neighbors and scaring some kids. Judging by the cramped layout of the complex, you can see why. The local anchor could only conclude, “well, obviously Justin Sellers has issues he has to take care of.”
At least he didn’t get sprayed by a neighbor’s hose, like field reporter Anjali Hemphill and her cameraman:
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will be the headline attraction tomorrow night at the Sports Museum of Los Angeles at a charity fundraiser to benefit Mattingly Charities and the Dodgers Dream Foundation. The event begins at 6:30 and features a silent auction, a glimpse at historic Dodgers memorabilia, and standup comedy from George Lopez.
Current and former Dodgers scheduled to appear include Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Lou Johnson, Steve Yeager, Lee Lacy, Jim Gott, Tim Leary and Al Ferrera. Soccer star Landon Donovan will also share the stage with screen personalities Alyssa Milano, Omar Benson Miller, Chris “Drama” Pfeff and Josh Wolf.
Tickets are $195 and VIP Sponsor Packages (which cover 10 people) are $4,000 each. More information can be found online here or by calling 323-224-1413.
Get ready for a higher cable bill.
That was one of many takeaways from yesterday’s news that the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable are on the verge of striking a local-cable rights pact that could be in the neighborhood of $8 billion.
Under the deal, colleague Tom Hoffarth reports, “TWC would be the anchor of this new Dodger channel and provide plenty of cross promotion with its own TWC SportsNet and Deportes channels created specifically for the Lakers. But as TWC found out, there was plenty of pushback from distributors when it launched its two-channel package in October leading up to the start of the Lakers season – mostly because of the high-end $3.95 price tag per subscriber per month. DirecTV, for example, didn’t get on board with it until the middle of November. Dish Network has yet to sign on.”
Even if you don’t care for the Lakers, you probably know someone who does and had to sweat through the TWC SportsNet launch last fall. If that was you, are you ready for the same song-and-dance with the Dodgers next year?
Would you rather see the $8 billion price tag come down? Or are you happy that your owners might turn an approximate $6 billion profit less than one year after buying the team, knowing that might mean more flexibility to add payroll and upgrade Dodger Stadium?
Onto the links:
Jamey Wright‘s deceptively steady career will continue in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The free agent right-hander signed a minor-league contract Tuesday with an invitation to spring training, the Rays announced.
The Dodgers let Wright become a free agent after he went 5-3 with a 3.72 earned-run average in 66 games out of the bullpen last season. The 38-year-old was second on the team in appearances (to Ronald Belisario) and games finished (to Kenley Jansen) after being slotted as a middle reliever to start the season.
Actually, Wright didn’t have a slot to start 2012. This is the eighth straight year he’ll enter camp as a non-roster invitee hoping for a major-league job. He beat out John Grabow for the final bullpen spot last year, but had even less of a chance in 2013 with right-handers Belisario, Jansen, Brandon League, Matt Guerrier, and Javy Guerra already on the 40-man roster. The Dodgers also poached free agent left-hander J.P. Howell from Tampa Bay and Wright’s historical success against lefties — no home runs in 139 plate appearances with a .252 batting average in 2012 — might mean he inherits Howell’s role out of the Rays’ bullpen.
A bigger incentive for Wright: He gets a shot with a perennial contender. In a 17-year career playing for nine teams, Wright has never pitched in a postseason game.
Sandy Koufax is officially a Dodger again.
The greatest pitcher in franchise history has been appointed a special advisor to Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, the team announced Tuesday. Koufax will attend a portion of spring training to work with Dodgers’ pitchers and consult with the team throughout the year.
“I’m delighted to be back with the Dodgers,” Koufax said in a statement released by the team. “I’m looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium.”
The Dodgers appear ready to pull the plug on their 16-year relationship with Fox. Bloomberg reported this morning that Time Warner Cable Inc. won the Dodgers’ local broadcasting rights. The announcement is reportedly “imminent.”
Dodgers games began appearing locally on Fox Sports Prime Ticket in 1997, and their current contract runs through the end of the 2013 season. The two sides failed to agree on an extension during their exclusive negotiating window, leaving the team free to negotiate with TWC or start its own network – a successful format for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in recent years.
TWC Sportsnet began broadcasting Lakers games this season as part of a 20-year deal worth an estimated $3 million. The Dodgers’ rights could be in the $6 to $8 million range over 25 years, based on various reports.
Losing the Dodgers would leave Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket (the Dodgers’ home station) with the Angels, Kings, Clippers, Ducks, USC and UCLA.
Some more links:
Reserve infielder Justin Sellers was arrested Saturday in West Sacramento for reckless motorcycle driving. The 26-year-old was charged with one misdemeanor count each of reckless driving and evasion, and released by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department late Saturday.
Some additional details from Sacramento-based KCRA.com:
Police said Justin Sellers was doing “wheelies” on his motorcycle in a neighborhood near Riva Drive. When officers tried to pull him over, police said Sellers took off.
After a short chase, Sellers turned himself in, authorities said.
West Sacramento police said they have had repeated reports of a motorcyclist driving recklessly in the same neighborhood for the past month.
Sellers batted .205 with one home run and two RBIs in 19 games last season. His year ended prematurely when he went sprawling into the seats to catch a foul ball at Dodger Stadium May 14; he injured his back on the play and ultimately had season-ending surgery.
Sellers is on the 40-man roster but was not expected to start the 2013 season in the majors, buried deep on the infield depth chart after the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker.
Not long after being released by the organization, former Dodgers third-round draft pick Austin Gallagher was suspended 50 games Friday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Gallagher, 24, tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, a substance used as an ingredient in nasal decongestants and banned by MLB and the World Anti-Doping Agency as a stimulant. His suspension will be effective immediately upon his signing with another organization.
In 2012, his fourth season in the High-A California League, Gallagher batted .283 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Gallagher was chosen in the third round of a 2007 Dodgers draft class that included first-rounder Chris Withrow, 22nd-rounder Matt Wallach and 27th-rounder Rob Rasmussen (out of high school).
After breaking into the Cal League at age 19, Gallagher showed he could hit for average (.290 over four seasons) but not power (.447 SLG%) in a league known for its hitter-friendly fences. He hasn’t reached the Double-A level in six professional seasons.
Gallagher was released prior to being suspended, and his release was unrelated to the positive test.
The Dodgers and Cubs announced they will play a Spring Training game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson on Thursday, March 21 at 1 p.m. with all proceeds going to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation.
The foundation was established by the Green family in 2011 to receive gifts in memory of Christina-Taylor, the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green and granddaughter of former Cubs GM Dallas Green.
This will mark the Dodgers’ third annual benefit game in Tucson dating to 2011, when the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played a similar benefit game in Tucson with all proceeds going to the Tucson Together Fund. In addition, The Dodgers Dream Foundation, in partnership with the Diamondbacks, dedicated a Dodgers Dreamfield in Oro Valley, Ariz. on a field that was re-named in memory of Christina-Taylor Green.
“We are very excited the Cubs agreed to play the Dodgers for this year’s game,” John Green said in a statement released by the team. “This game brings everything full circle for me since I played in the Cubs organization and my Dad (Dallas) was their General Manager.”
The mission of the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation is “to honor the life and memory of Christina-Taylor through charitable and educational projects that reflect and embody her interests, values and dreams.”