Daily Distractions: How relationships made a difference for Skip Schumaker, Dan Haren.

Brian Wilson

Skip Schumaker, left, and Nick Punto have fun after tearing the jersey off Brian Wilson after the Dodgers beat the Giants in September. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)

Skip Schumaker had never been a free agent before this year, and he wasn’t a free agent for long. Less than a month after the World Series ended, Schumaker signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

“I didn’t really want to wait because I felt so good about Cincinnati,” he said on a conference call Tuesday.

The idea of waiting in traffic on the way to Dodger Stadium didn’t appeal to Schumaker, either. His carpool buddy, Nick Punto, had just signed with the Oakland A’s on Nov. 13. That mattered.

“I didn’t know who was coming back,” Schumaker said. “I didn’t know what coaches were coming back, which players. My friends were signing elsewhere – especially Nick Punto – becoming free agents.”

Dan Haren had been a free agent before. This time, the pitcher had help from Zack Greinke, his teammate with the Angels late in the 2012 season.

“I kind of talked to (Greinke) throughout the whole process,” said Haren, who finalized a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Monday. “He said the team is amazing. … It’s nice coming into a situation where there’s a familiar guy.”

This principle is nothing new, but it was interesting to see it work both for and against the Dodgers in the span of two days.

Schumaker’s contract with the Cincinnati Reds was widely reported last week and became official Tuesday. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reported that Schumaker will make $2 million in 2014, $2.5 million in 2015 and there is a $2.5 million club option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout.

Apparently the Dodgers weren’t that interested in bringing him back.

“They had so many things going on initially,” Schumaker said, “I felt I was maybe on the back burner.”

Some bullet points for a Thanksgiving/Hanukkah weekend. These will be the last until Monday:

Ted Lilly is retiring. I believe the first report came here, yesterday:

• “Dolores en el cuerpo” translates to pains (or aches). Lilly had been trying to mount a comeback in the Venezuelan Winter League after having the nerve endings in the right side of his neck cauterized.

Gabe Kapler, writing for FoxSports.com, explores the concept of playing through injuries. He references Hanley Ramirez in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. It’s worth a read.

• I’ll add one anecdote about Ramirez: Ramirez was slow to arrive at his locker in St. Louis after Game 1. Once he sat down, he was slow to do anything. He sat there, mostly looking hurt and uncomfortable. “Where did that pitch get you?” I asked. At first he didn’t turn to acknowledge me or my question. No one else stood within 10 feet of us. We waited in silence. Maybe 30 seconds later — an eternity when you’re on a deadline — he raised his index finger and pointed at his left ribcage without turning his head. It was a quiet interview. We didn’t know yet that Ramirez’s rib was fractured, but it wasn’t hard to figure out in that moment. I don’t think any beat writers criticized Ramirez’s toughness, or “pain tolerance.”

• Former Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines (h/t to Mikio Obayashi for hooking up the translation.)

• An added reminder for all those “ladies” out there from Rays pitcher David Price:

• Happy birthday to Mike Scioscia (55).

• If you liked “The Fox,” and wondered whether the band Ylvis was serious, their tune “Massachusetts” — appropriate for Thanksgiving, I figured — should set the record straight:

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