Apropos of nothing — the time in Sydney, the time in Los Angeles, my newspaper’s deadlines — I’m checking in with one last update before boarding a flight to Australia.
The Dodgers play the Australian National Team tonight in Sydney. It’s their last exhibition game before beginning the regular season on Saturday (1 a.m. Pacific Time/7 p.m. Sydney Time). Manager Don Mattingly named Zach Lee will start the game.
Here’s how the Dodgers will line up:
It’s not unfathomable that the left-handed Gordon would lead off in the two games against the Diamondbacks, with right-handers Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill starting the two games. This could be a sneak preview of the Dodgers’ Opening Day lineup (with Clayton Kershaw starting and batting ninth).
There’s more at stake for the Dodgers on defense. This will be the only chance for the players to get accustomed to the Sydney Cricket Ground’s peculiar dimensions before Opening Day.
Carl Crawford, who was removed from a minor-league game yesterday in Arizona, has the flu according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com. That’s better than a shoulder injury, as some original reports suggested.
Just because, here are the five Australian-born players in Dodgers history:
1. The first Australia-born Major Leaguer, Craig Shipley, made his debut as a Dodger on June 22, 1986, and was the first of the five.
2. RHP Peter Moylan appeared in 14 games last year in his only season playing for the Dodgers, going 1-0 with a 6.46 ERA.
3. OF Trent Oeltjen batted .202 with two home runs and seven RBI in 75 games during his two years with the Dodgers in 2010-2011.
4. RHP Luke Prokopec was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1994 and reached the big leagues in 2000. Prokopec appeared in 34 games (25 starts) during his two seasons with Los Angeles, going 9-8 with a 4.63 ERA.
5. LHP Jeff Williams played all four of his big league seasons with the Dodgers from 1999-2002 after signing with the club as an amateur free agent in 1996. The Canberra native went 4-1 with a 7.49 ERA in 37 Major League games (four starts) with Los Angeles.
Even more randomly: Former Dodgers executive and general manager Fred Claire yesterday was named as a special advisor to Baseball New Zealand. Claire has been advising the country’s national body unofficially for some time, but took steps to formalize the relationship.