Daily Distractions: Seth Rosin, still a work in progress, makes a good first impression with Dodgers.

Seth Rosin

Seth Rosin is trying to make the Dodgers’ roster as a Rule 5 draft pick. (Associated Press photo)

Seth Rosin has never pitched above Double-A in his life. The 25-year-old right-hander doesn’t look like a rookie at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds. On the mound Wednesday, he didn’t pitch like one.

Rosin, whom the Dodgers selected in the Rule 5 draft pick in December, faced seven Arizona Diamondbacks batters and struck out five. After the game, Rosin sounded like a kid who had just faced major-league hitters for the first time. He didn’t hide the truth.

“It was really fun to pitch against guys like (Paul) Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock,” he said. “You see them on TV. You always wonder, ‘what would I do if I could pitch against them?’ It was a lot of fun.”

The experience wasn’t as fun for Goldschmidt and Pollock, both of whom struck out in their only at-bat against Rosin. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called it a “good first impression.”

Rosin gets by on three pitches: A fastball that tops out in the low-to-mid 90-mph range, a slider and a changeup. He said the changeup did most of the damage Wednesday.

The performance was more remarkable when you consider that Rosin’s mechanics are still a work in progress. The Dodgers’ coaching staff, including bullpen coach Chuck Crim, has suggested some tweaks — mostly focused on Rosin’s lower body — designed to add a couple more ticks on the radar gun.

Ben WeberRosin threw entirely out of the stretch. His condensed windup was deliberate nearly to the point of being awkward, almost a less exaggerated version of former Angels reliever Ben Weber (right).

Rosin described his mechanics Wednesday as a mixture of old and new.

“It wasn’t fully incorporated, what I’ve been doing in the dry work, but it’s a process,” he said. “I wasn’t going to go out there and try something totally new in front of the coaches my first time out there. Hopefully by the last couple games in spring training it’s going to be 100 percent there and everything’s going to be like I want it to be.”

For Rosin to make the Dodgers, he’ll need to string together more performances like Wednesday’s. Even then, he might need an injury or two to befall one of the right-handed middle relievers ahead of him on the depth chart — Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Brandon League, Chris Withrow, Jamey Wright, Jose Dominguez and Javy Guerra.

If Rosin isn’t on the 25-man roster to begin the season, Rule 5 dictates that he must be designated for assignment and placed on waivers, where any of the other 29 teams can claim him.

Some bullet points for a Dominican Independence Day:
Continue reading

Share this post ...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page

Carl Crawford scratched from Dodgers’ lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks as a precaution.

Carl Crawford

Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford will miss Thursday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Associated Press photo)

There were a couple early-morning changes to the Dodgers’ lineup Thursday.

Carl Crawford was removed as a precaution with tightness in his upper right leg. Crawford said that his hamstring was “a little tight” Wednesday, “just the whole day.” The 32-year-old outfielder had an adventure in the field, overrunning a fly ball in the first inning that fell for a triple, and also scored from first base on Yasiel Puig‘s third-inning double.

Crawford said his hamstring felt fine Thursday morning and that he wouldn’t be restricted from anything other than playing in the game. Last year, Crawford missed 30 games with a strained left hamstring.

Manager Don Mattingly said that the issue is with Crawford’s quadriceps muscle and not his hamstring; Crawford had the entire upper leg wrapped after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. Regardless, Mattingly said that Crawford would get another day off Saturday and potentially return to the lineup Saturday when the Dodgers play the Milwaukee Brewers.

Catcher A.J. Ellis reported to camp with the flu and was sent home. “He didn’t look great,” Mattingly said. Ellis is expected back Friday.

Zack Greinke is scheduled to throw two innings and the starters are expected to play five. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m. (noon Pacific) from Camelback Ranch. Here are the lineups for both teams:

Dodgers Diamondbacks
Dee Gordon 2B Tony Campana CF
Andre Ethier CF Cliff Pennington 2B
Hanley Ramirez SS Chris Owings SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B Mike Jacobs 1B
Yasiel Puig RF Matt Tuiasosopo RF
Mike Baxter LF Jake Lamb 3B
Juan Uribe 3B Shelley Duncan DH
Tim Federowicz C Danny Dorn LF
Alex Guerrero 2B Tuffy Gosewich C
(Zack Greinke P) (Randall Delgado P)
Share this post ...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page

Arizona Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw gave up five hits and three runs in two innings in his first Cactus League start. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers are 0-1. Clayton Kershaw has a 13.50 earned-run average.

“If it wasn’t for that Kershaw guy we’d be in good shape,” manager Don Mattingly quipped.

The takeaways from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at Salt River Fields on Wednesday were limited, to put it mildly.

Among the more meaningful performances, Yasiel Puig twice faced Brandon McCarthy, who will almost certainly be in the Diamondbacks’ major-league rotation if he’s healthy. Puig singled to right field in his first at-bat and doubled in his second at-bat. The latter hit gave the Dodgers their only run when Carl Crawford scored all the way from first base.

Kershaw pitched two innings, allowed five hits, three runs (all earned), walked one and struck out two. He threw 42 pitches — 26 strikes — then “faced two hitters” by throwing about 15 more pitches in the bullpen.

“I wasn’t throwing the ball where I wanted to,” he said. “There were some off-speed pitches I needed to throw better. That one to Montero I struck him out on was probably up, honestly. That one that Pollock hit, there’s just some balls that I left up. Just a lot to work on.”

Kershaw didn’t downplay his pitching line.

“I’m a results-based guy,” he said. “I want to see outs. Today left a lot to be desired.”

The Diamondbacks scored their final run in the eighth inning off Ross Stripling.

Some more postgame notes and observations:
Continue reading

Share this post ...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page

Daily Distractions: Alexander Guerrero’s short practice window opens now.

Alex Guerrero

Alex Guerrero said he already feels comfortable playing second base. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Different players have told me on different occasions that only pitchers and catchers need a good four weeks-plus of spring training. Hitters don’t need nearly as much time to prepare for a season — maybe a week or two, as a general rule, if they’re in shape.

There are exceptions to the rule. Alex Guerrero is one.

Guerrero only played 12 games in the Dominican Winter League because of a nagging hamstring injury. That’s simply not enough games to expect the 27-year-old to transform into the Dodgers’ Opening Day second baseman after playing shortstop his entire career. Even Superman doesn’t change capes that fast.

Guerrero will take the field today as the Dodgers’ starting second baseman against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the first Cactus League game for both clubs. (Most other clubs begin playing games no sooner than Friday, since most clubs don’t start the season in the Southern Hemisphere.) Second base is the only Opening Day position remotely up for grabs — unless you count the starting pitcher — so it will be a primary focus on the field, starting today.

In an intrasquad game Sunday, Guerrero flawlessly charged a ground ball, picked it up on the run, and threw across his body to retire the runner at first base. He looked like a second baseman. If Guerrero looks that smooth in today’s game, it will be in large part because of the four lonely weeks he spent fielding ground balls at Camelback Ranch before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.

“I’ve practiced enough that it comes naturally to me,” Guerrero said through an interpreter. “Training’s always going to be different than the game, but I feel comfortable.”

The Dodgers have 19 days’ worth of games — 21 in all — before leaving for Australia. Guerrero said it will be “very important” for him to see game action over the next three weeks at second base. But it’s not as if he’s picking up where he left off Dec. 12, his final Dominican Winter League game.

After receiving his United States work visa and entering the country on Jan. 13, Guerrero came to Camelback Ranch and got to work.

“I feel so much more comfortable at second now … than I did in the Dominican,” he said. “I feel like it’s natural to me now.”

Some bullet points for a National Pistachio Day:
Continue reading

Share this post ...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page

Fans outside of Los Angeles, Phoenix markets can watch Sydney games on MLB Network.

Sydney Cricket Ground

The Sydney Morning Herald published this photo of what the Sydney Cricket Ground might look like converted for baseball. The Dodgers open the 2014 season with two games here against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Local fans bent on watching the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia on Opening Day have an option besides flying to Sydney, or watching the game on SportsNet LA: Drive.

MLB Network will televise the Dodgers’ regular season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia on March 22 and 23. A local blackout will be effect in the greater Los Angeles and Phoenix markets. Time Warner Cable and SportNet LA also consider Las Vegas, the Coachella Valley and Hawaii to be Dodgers territory, and therefore subject to the blackout rule. ¡Viva Mexico!

The games will be simulcast on ESPN in Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. Nine Network, the highest-rated Australian network, will also carry the two games in Australia.

The first game will air live at 1 a.m. Pacific Time on March 22, and MLB Network will replay the game at 4 a.m. The second game airs at 7 p.m. that night.

In Australia, ESPN will also exclusively broadcast the exhibition games that the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will play against Team Australia prior to the two regular-season games.

MLB Network is currently distributed in approximately 70 million homes throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Share this post ...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page