Dodgers trade right-hander Aaron Harang to Colorado for catcher Ramon Hernandez

By Tom Hoffarth, Staff Writer

Aaron Harang doesn’t have to be the red herring in the pitching-deep Dodgers’ starting rotation plans any more. Now, the veteran right-hander might be more concerned if anyone wants him anymore.

The Dodgers alleviated confusion by trading Harang, along with $4.25 million to help pay his salary, to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday morning in exchange for one-time All-Star catcher Ramon Hernandez.

But the Rockies have no plans to keep Harang, making $7 million this season. He was immediately designated for assignment, giving the team 10 days to either trade or release him.

Hernandez, making $3.2 million, was expected to arrive in L.A. on Saturday night and joint the Dodgers today, giving them three catchers on the roster for the time being.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he will go according to plan and start rookie backup Tim Federowicz in the series finale this afternoon against Pittsburgh, giving starter A.J. Ellis the day off.

In Hernandez, the Dodgers get someone with 15 years of big-league experience, an All-Star with Oakland in 2003 and a career .264 hitter. Hernandez’s best seasons were with the A’s when he caught a staff that included Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson from 2000-’03.

Hernandez, who turns 37 in May, has played in the divisional series playoffs with Cincinnati (2010) and San Diego (2005). During the 2006 season in Baltimore, Hernandez played in 144 games with 23 home runs and 91 RBI.

Still, the Venezuelan was the No. 3 catcher on Colorado’s roster this season behind Wilin Rosario and Yorvit Torrealba, playing in just 52 games last year (.217, 5 HRs) with various injury issues. He also has minimal experience playing first base.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Hernandez’s experience and leadership are his strengths at this point in his career “and he will be a great resource for A.J.”

Harang, whose major contributions to Dodgers late-inning victories last year was strategically firing a Super Soaker full of water from the dugout to drench  that night’s hero, had been wandering aimlessly in the bullpen this spring and first week of the season.

The San Diego native made 31 starts last year, going 10-10 with 3.61 ERA in 31 starts. He was 1-2 in five games during spring training – all of them starts – and sporting an 8.20 ERA.

Once the Dodgers added free-agents Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to the rotation, Harang’s job security was at stake, as well as prevous starters Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly.

Lilly has been on the disabled list since Opening Day trying to come back during rehab assignments in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, but appears to be a ways off.

Mattingly has said Capuano, who started 33 games last year and was good enough in the first half of the season to be considered an All-Star candidate, has been able to adapt easier to a bullpen assignment than Harang, who in 299 games in his 11-year career only pitched in relief six times.

Mattingly said the 34-year-old Harang who played for four teams  “was one guy who I really couldn’t figure out how to use. He knows the business side and at the end of the day this will give him a chance to pitch somewhere, and it helps us.”

Longtime ump Wendelstedt dies at 73

Didn’t have enough room in the paper for all of this, so wanted to share the Associated Press obit. Some great stuff from Don Drysdale’s scoreless streak, 1988 NLCS and quotes from Tommy Lasorda …

NEW YORK (AP)– Longtime umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who worked five World Series
and made a call involving Don Drysdale that became one of baseball’s most disputed plays
in the late 1960s, died Friday. He was 73.
Wendelstedt died at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., near
the umpiring school he ran for more than three decades in Ormond Beach. He had been
diagnosed several years ago with a brain tumor.
Wendelstedt called seven NL championship series and four All-Star games, and was behind
the plate for five no-hitters. He was on the major league umpiring staff from 1966-98.
His son, Hunter, is a big league umpire and wears the same No. 21 that his father wore.
The Wendelstedts worked games together in 1998 — it was Hunter’s first year in the majors
and Harry’s last season.
Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda has championed Wendelstedt for enshrinement in
Cooperstown.
“He’s got as good a chance as anybody. He deserves it,” Lasorda told The Associated Press
after learning of Wendelstedt’s death.
Lasorda said he was scouting for Los Angeles and was in the stands when Wendelstedt made
his most notable call on May 31, 1968, at Dodger Stadium.
Drysdale was trying for his fifth straight shutout — and was heading toward setting a
then-record of 58 2-3 scoreless innings — when San Francisco loaded the bases with no outs
in the ninth inning.
Drysdale threw a 2-2 pitch that struck Dick Dietz on the elbow, and the shutout streak
seemed to be over. But Wendelstedt, the plate umpire, immediately ruled that Dietz didn’t
try to get out of the way. Wendelstedt called the pitch a ball and told Dietz to get back
in the batter’s box.
“I’d never seen that call before in the big leagues,” Lasorda recalled. “Never had seen
anyone make it.”
After a heated argument, the game resumed. On a full-count pitch, Dietz flied out and
Drysdale wound up pitching a shutout. Orel Hershiser set the shutout record of 59 innings
in 1988, pitching under Lasorda.
“Harry had a wide strike zone, he liked to see hitters swing the bat,” Lasorda said,
laughing. “Dick Dietz. Harry, he got him out. And the streak continued.”
Later in that 1968 season, Wendelstedt called balls-and-strikes when Gaylord Perry of the
Giants pitched a no-hitter against St. Louis. The next day, on Sept. 18, Wendelstedt was
at third base when Ray Washburn of the Cardinals no-hit San Francisco.
Not that all of Wendelstedt’s contested calls went in favor of pitchers. In the 1988 NLCS,
Wendelstedt confiscated the glove of Dodgers reliever Jay Howell after it was found to
have pine tar. Wendelstedt ejected Howell, drawing some lip from Lasorda, and the reliever
was subsequently suspended.
“We got along pretty well,” Lasorda remembered. “Nothing too bad.”
Harry Hunter Wendelstedt Jr. spent well over half his life in the umpiring field. Even
after his retirement, his umpiring school kept producing many young umpires who wound up
working in professional baseball.

Dodgers pillage Giants for Uribe

From our sister paper in San Jose …

By Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Francisco Giants fans had no qualms about turning on Jeff Kent after the former NL Most Valuable Player joined the archrival Dodgers. But it
might be a little tougher for them to chant “Booooo-ree-bay” at AT&T Park next
season.
The Dodgers poached one of the Giants’ World Series heroes Monday, agreeing with
popular infielder Juan Uribe on a three-year, $21 million contract that is pending a
physical. ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to report the news.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti seems bent on breaking up as much of the Giants’
World Series championship team as possible. Colletti, a former top lieutenant to
Giants GM Brian Sabean, also had been after first baseman Aubrey Huff before the
Giants matched a two-year, $22 million guaranteed offer to bring him back.
But Sabean wasn’t willing to match the third year of the Dodgers’ offer to Uribe, who
hit .248 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs, including several clutch hits over the season
and postseason.
Giants vice president Bobby Evans declined to comment on the deal until it became
official, but he indicated the club was ready to look in other directions to find a
starting shortstop for 2011.
“We’re exploring all possibilities on the trade and free-agent front,” Evans said.
“Some of them are the names that have been out there, others are not as
well-known.”
Uribe will remain well-known by fans in the Bay Area long after his career ends. His
solo home run in Game 6 of NLCS broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning, sending the
Giants to their first pennant since 2002. Uribe also hit the sacrifice fly to beat the
Phillies in Game 4 — afterward exclaiming in his limited but poetic English that he
felt “a lot of happy.”
Of Uribe’s 24 homers in the regular season, 11 either tied the score or put the Giants
ahead, most of them coming in the seventh inning or later. None was bigger than his
two-run shot Sept. 4 at Dodger Stadium, when he connected with one out in the ninth
off closer Jonathan Broxton to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 victory.
Giants fans picked up the “Oooo-ree-bay” chant they used in the 1980s for shortstop
Jose Uribe, who was Juan’s late uncle.
Uribe ended up at third base in the postseason, as shortstop Edgar Renteria cracked
the lineup and third baseman Pablo Sandoval became a bench player. But the Giants had
hoped to re-sign Uribe to play short, where he makes routine plays well enough despite
limited range.
The Giants will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds
for losing Uribe, who will greet them in the April 1 season opener at Dodger Stadium.
It is likely the Giants will wait until April 11 to present Uribe with his ring, when
the Dodgers make their first visit to AT&T Park.

Garland to return to Dodgers

The Dodgers signed former Kennedy High standout Jon Garland to one-year, $5-million contract Friday.

The right-hander pitched briefly for the Dodgers in 2009 before helping anchor San Diego’s staff this past season.

Here’s a link to the story by MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick:

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101126&content_id=16214804&vkey=news_la&c_id=la

Dodgers signing draft picks

The list of June draftees who have signed with the Dodgers:

Rd./Pick
Name
Pos.
DOB
B-T
Ht./Wt.
School
Scout

4/127
Mario Songco
OF
9/9/88
L-R
6-0/190
Loyola Marymount University
Bobby Darwin

6/187
Jan Vazquez
C
4/29/91
S-R
5-10/170
Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Manny Estrada

8/247
Jonathan Garcia
OF
11/11/91
R-R
5-11/175
Luis Munoz Marin High School
Manny Estrada

10/307
Andy Suiter
LHP
6/10/87
L-L
6-3/210
UC – Davis
Fred Costello

12/367
Brian Cavazos-Galvez
OF
5/17/87
R-R
6-0/215
University of New Mexico
Calvin Jones

13/397
Joe Paxson
RHP
7/28/86
R-R
6-4/250
Western Kentucky University
Marty Lamb

14/427
Casio Grider
SS
8/17/87
R-R
6-1/165
Newberry College (SC)
Lon Joyce

16/487
Mike Pericht
C
5/23/88
R-R
6-5/235
St. Joseph’s College (IN)
Chet Sergo

17/517
Steven Ames
RHP
3/15/88
R-R
6-2/205
Gonzaga University (WA)
Hank Jones

18/547
Greg Wilborn
LHP
6/3/87
L-L
6-1/170
Univ. of Louisiana – Lafayette
Matt Paul

19/577
Nick Akins
OF
12/25/87
R-R
6-1/190
Vanguard University (CA)
Brian Stephenson

21/637
Chris Henderson
3B
6/23/88
L-R
5-11/190
George Mason University (VA)
Clair Rierson

22/667
Stetson Banks
OF
1/14/88
R-R
6-1/185
BYU
Brian Stephenson

23/697
Jimmy Marshall
RHP
4/13/87
R-R
6-1/210
Florida State University
Scott Hennessey

28/847
John Hernandez
RHP
6/21/87
R-R
6-1/200
Barry University (FL)
Manny Estrada

30/907
Nick Gaudi
RHP
8/2/86
R-R
6-5/215
Pepperdine University (CA)
Chuck Crim

31/937
Austin King
OF
12/1/88
R-R
6-2/205
Jackson State CC (TN)
Marty Lamb

32/967
Graham Miller
LHP
10/18/86
L-L
6-2/205
The Masters College (CA)
Chuck Crim

33/997
Steve Cilladi
C
3/15/87
R-R
5-9/182
Kansas Wesleyan University
Scott Little

34/1027
Justin Dignelli
RHP
2/26/87
R-R
6-4/220
George Washington Univ. (DC)
Clair Rierson

35/1057
David Iden
2B
3/4/87
R-R
5-9/170
California Lutheran University
Chuck Crim

36/1087
Kevin Childs
RHP
4/21/87
R-R
6-3/195
Culver-Stockton College (CA)
Scott Little

41/1237
Chris Handke
RHP
3/19/88
R-R
6-10/235
Cornell College (NY)
Scott Little

Dodgers sign fourth-round pick Songco

The Dodgers announced they have signed outfielder Mario Songco, a fourth-round pick out of Loyola Marymount University, and have assigned him to advanced Rookie ball in Ogden, Utah, for the start of the Pioneer League season next Tuesday.

Songco, a 2006 graduate of Alemany High in Mission Hills, was the only player from the West Coast Conference named to the semifinalist list for the 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur player in the country.

He hit 34 career homers in three years at LMU to rank seventh on the school’s all-time list.

The 20-year-old led the team in 2009 with a .360 average, 15 home runs, 63 RBIs, a .678 slugging percentage, and a .481 on-base percentage.

Minor-league report

From the Dodgers’ crack PR staff:

Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes

Pacific Coast League American South Division

32-34, 1st Place, 1.5 Games Ahead

J-MAC ATTACK: RHP James McDonald was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 8-15…the 24-year-old went 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA (1 ER/14.0 IP) in two starts, striking out 23 batters in 14.0 innings…overall, the Long Beach native is 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA (11 ER/30.1 IP) with 40 strikeouts in six starts.

CHARLIE’S GOLDEN TICKET: RHP Charlie Haeger is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA (6 ER/30.0 IP) in four June starts…last night, the 26-year-old allowed one run in 8.0 innings to pick up the win at Memphis (Cardinals)…the Michigan native appeared in four Cactus League games for the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee and allowed one run in 4.1 innings.

LUNA BAR: INF Hector Luna ranks third in the Pacific Coast League with a .353 batting average and ninth with 47 RBI…the 29-year-old is batting .429 (21-for-49) with seven homers and 20 RBI against left-handers…Luna appeared in 15 Cactus League games for the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee, batting .204 (5-for-24) with a homer and four RBI.

Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

Southern League North Division

27-38, 4th Place, 10.5 Games Back

DOUBLE-A’S OK – 1B Eduardo Perez is batting .364 (20-for-55) with 12 RBI in 14 games in June…the switch-hitting Venezuelan has hit safely in 13 of the 14 games, including six in a row (10-for-24, .417)…the 24-year-old began the year with Single-A Inland Empire, and was promoted to Chattanooga on May 21…he is batting .313 with seven doubles, two homers, and 12 RBI in 24 games with Chattanooga overall.

SELLERS MARKET – SS Justin Sellers is batting .333 (17-for-51) in 13 games in June, raising his average to .284 from .268…the Bellflower-born 23-year-old ranks second on the club with 17 doubles, two behind Andrew Lambo.

GREAT SCOTT!! – LHP Scott Elbert has struck out nine or more in four straight starts, fanning 37 batters in 24.0 innings in that time…the 23-year-old, who has enjoyed one stint with the Dodgers in April, has 77 strikeouts in 57.1 innings with Chattanooga overall, an average of 12.09 punchouts per nine innings…he is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 games (10 starts)…the Dodgers’ first selection (17th overall) of the 2004 draft is limiting left-handed hitters to a .145 average (8-for-55).

SARTOR ENGINES – RHP Matthew Sartor has worked 8.0 consecutive scoreless innings over his last six appearances, and has allowed just two earned runs in 20.1 innings beginning May 1 for a 0.86 ERA in that time…the 24-year-old, who was signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent in July 2007, has 38 strikeouts in 37.0 innings, and is 0-2 with four saves and a 2.43 ERA in 22 games.

OF KOSS – RHP Paul Koss, an 11th round selection out of USC in 2007, has tossed scoreless relief in four of five outings since returning from the disabled list on May 31, allowing one run in 6.0 innings in that time…he had missed one month with a right shoulder impingement…the Orange Lutheran High School grad celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday…he has no record, two saves, and a 1.88 ERA in 11 appearances overall.

Single-A Inland Empire 66ers

California League South Division

29-37, 3rd Place, 13.0 Games Back

HERE’S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: OF Trayvon Robinson leads the California League with 23 steals…he has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, batting .325 (13-for-40)…the Crenshaw High School alum is batting .308 in 65 games overall…he was selected by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 2005 draft.

JAKE, RATTLE, AND ROLL: RHP Jake McCarter is 2-0 with three saves and a 0.98 ERA (2 ER/18.1 IP) in 12 appearances…the 24-year-old is limiting opposing hitters to a .086 average, and has 18 strikeouts in 18.1 innings…the Texas native has pitched scoreless relief in 10 of 12 appearances.

TIMMY!!: RHP Timothy Sexton has turned in back-to-back quality starts, allowing four runs in his last 12.0 innings…the 22-year-old has struck out 14 in his last 12.0 innings and leads the 66ers with 68.2 innings pitched…overall, the 25th round selection in the 2007 draft is 1-8 despite a 3.15 ERA.

Single-A Great Lakes Loons

Midwest League Eastern Division

37-29, 3rd Place, 5.0 Games Back

DEE-LIGHTFUL – SS Dee Gordon has hit safely in seven straight games, batting .448 (13-for-29) to raise his average to .296 from .277…the Dodgers’ fourth-round selection in the 2008 draft has a league-leading 35 stolen bases, including three in his last three games.

CRYSTAL GEISON – LHP Geison Aguasviva has allowed only one unearned run in 10.2 innings over three appearances since joining Great Lakes from Extended Spring Training on May 31…he has struck out 10 and allowed six hits in that time…the 21-year-old Dominican Republic native, who is in his second year of pro ball in the United States, was signed by Los Angeles as a non-drafted free agent in December 2005.

SHIFTING INTO A HIGHER GUERRA – RHP Javy Guerra ranks third in the league with 15 saves, including one last night at South Bend (Diamondbacks)…the Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 27 appearances…he has allowed just one run in his last 8.1 innings (six games)…the 23-year-old has struck out 51 hitters in 39.0 innings, an average 11.77 punchouts per nine innings.

Rookie Dominican Summer League Dodgers

DSL B.C. North

8-8, 6th Place, 4.0 Games Back

LET’S BE FRANCO – INF Bladimir Franco leads the DSL Dodgers with five homers and 14 RBI…the 18-year-old has hit in 12 of 15 games for the DSL Dodgers with a .356 batting average…he is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with runners in scoring position.

THE ENLLY – INF Enlly Morales is riding a 14-game hitting streak, batting .456 (26-for-57) with a homer and nine RBI…the 19-year-old Dominican Republic native is batting .478 (22-for-46) against right-handers.

Weaver vs. Weaver

The Dodgers’ Jeff Weaver and Angels’ Jered Weaver, both graduates of Simi Valley High, are scheduled to pitch against each other for the first time Saturday night in the Freeway Series in Anaheim.
It will be the 21st time in major-league history that two brothers have started against each other and the first since Alan and Andy Benes faced off in 2002.
“It’s a chance to share the same mound on the same day and not many can say that,” Jeff Weaver told MLB.com. “It’s a moment we won’t forget. It’s pretty special regardless of the outcome.”
Weaver said his parents had canceled plans to attend a relative’s wedding Saturday in Temecula to be at the game.
“I wouldn’t want to be the people sitting around them during the course of the game,” he said.
Weaver said the best outcome would be if both brothers came out with the score tied and leaving the bullpens to decide the game.

Vin on Dusty Rhodes

Former GIants great Dusty Rhodes, who helped them win their last World Series in 1954, died Wednesday in Las Vegas at age 82.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, in his 60th season with the Dodgers, fondly recalled
Rhodes’ self-depreciating sense of humor.
“I remember Dusty saying to me one day with a deadly serious face, ‘They’re giving me a
day tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Really, Dusty? That’s great.’ He said, ‘Yeah — to get out of
town,’” Scully said. “That was his attitude. I don’t believe he ever took himself
seriously, but he took his job seriously.
“Just by mentioning his name, I start to smile — which maybe is as good a tribute to a man as anything,” Scully added. “He had that marvelous time in 1954, when ‘all Rhodes led to the World Series.’ So at least he’s remembered. And when you realize how many people have played this game over how many years, to be remembered at all is a significant achievement. I guess they’re looking for a designated hitter up there, and he’s not a bad one to have.”