Dodgers Turner and Uribe better than expected on injury front

As Justin Turner made his way across the Dodgers clubhouse Sunday morning, someone asked him how his left index finger was doing after leaving Saturday’s game after getting spiked.
“It’s still attached,” Turner said. “It didn’t fall off.”
All things considered, that was a good thing.
Neither Turner or Juan Uribe – who replaced Turner at third base only to be forced out of the game after his left hamstring tightened up – were out of the lineup Sunday but cautiously optimistic they’d be OK if called upon.
“Actually pretty good (reports) on both,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Juan came out and ran, did a lot of things. Saw him in their hitting as I walked out. I think he’s going to be somewhat available today. I’m gonna try to stay away from him but if we had to put him at third and double switch him I think, from the training staff, we’d be comfortable doing that.
As for Turner, Mattingly wasn’t sure early Sunday whether he’d be available.
“He’s gonna try to do some things and see as the day goes a a long,” Mattingly said. “A lot of times guys start doing their little treatment and stuff and it starts loosening up. So we’ll just have to see how that goes.”

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New Dodgers defensive philosophy suffers a hiccup

PHOENIX – It’s widely known the new Dodgers’ front office regime will lean heavily on analytics and data and the use of aggressive defensive shifts as it tries to lift the Dodgers beyond just playoff berths and into the World Series.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, built an gleaming, industry wide reputation on applying such principals to the Tamp Bay Rays, who crawled out of obscurity to become one of the most respected organizations in baseball under Friedman’s stewardship.
Friedman was hired by the Dodgers last winter in the hopes of crafting the same type of prosperity in Los Angeles, and the success he enjoyed in Florida certainly buys him ample time to implement his philosophy with minimal push back.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be hiccups, or times when fans and even players in his own clubhouse don’t scratch their heads a bit.
That seemed to be the case Saturday night when the bold defensive shifts Friedman and his staff brought to Los Angeles seemed to sabotage Clayton Kershaw’s second start of the season.
And it left Kershaw choosing his words diplomatically after absorbing a 6-0 loss and manager Don Mattingly to petulantly defend the Dodgers early game defensive positioning.
It all started in the bottom of the first inning against Diamondbacks lead-off hitter A.J. Pollock when the Dodgers moved second baseman Howie Kendrick alongside shortstop Jimmy Rollins, giving them three defenders on the left side of the infield.
It also created a wide hole between second base and first, which Pollock immediately exploited by punching a ground ball right through the area Kendrick would have been manning under normal positioning.
Conspicuously, Kershaw turned and glared inside the Dodgers dugout as soon as the ball passed through for a single.
Two batters later the Dodgers moved Kendrick directly behind second base against Diamondbacks hitter Mark Trumbo, who took advantage by shooting a grounder through the space Kendrick vacated to plate Pollock.
Kershaw spoke carefully when asked about it afterward.
“A lot of people do a lot of research and a lot of homework to put guys where they’re supposed to be,” he said. “You execute the game plan, the theory is they’ll hit it where they are. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.”
And maybe it was just a coincidence Pollock and Trumbo hit balls in the exact hole created by shifting Kendrick away from his normal spot.
Mattingly seemed to think so, emphatically shooting down any thought opposing hitters can knowingly exploit the man-man infield holes caused by defensive shifts.
“Let’s get this straight, these guys aren’t that good as far as being able to hit the ball where ever they want whenever they want to. Balls go in certain places, you’re playing shifts, you’re playing percentages. That’s the way it’s been going on for a long time. It’s getting more aggressive now. There’s gonna be times when they hit the ball where you’re not.
“If guys were that good they wouldn’t be striking out at astronomical numbers, putting the ball in play where they wanted to. The commissioner wouldn’t be talking about banning shifts. If they could hit the ball where they wanted to they would, Hitters in general are not that good.”
Maybe Mattingly is right, and maybe he is just as devoted to the aggressive defensive shifting philosophy as his bosses.
But it’s also worth noting Friedman was sitting in on Mattingly’s post-game interview session. Not to say Mattingly went out of his way to defend the tactic with his boss sitting just a few feet away, but Friedman’s presence was certainly conspicuous.

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Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez not ready to call a Pacquiao-Mayweather winner

Adrian Gonzalez might not be the biggest boxing fan in the Dodgers clubhouse, but it’s hard to imagine anyone any bigger than the veteran first baseman.

He isn’t just a fan, he’s also a devoted disciple to a boxing training regime overseen by Marvin Somodio – an assistant to Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach – and works out at the same Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood that Pacquiao trains.

Needless to say, Gonzalez had a ringside seat over the off season while Pacquiao’s people hammered out the deal that led to Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreeing to fight one another.

It was a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.

“I just remember there was a lot of talk, a lot chatter going on about negotiations and the back and forth of it while I was there training,” Gonzalez remembered. “It was on, it was off. It was on it was off. And so, finally, I heard it from Freddie. He came in with Marvin and said the fight was on, everything had been finalized. I think everyone at the gym was excited. Everybody wants to see that fight.”

Gonzalez was as frustrated as anyone else it took so long to finally get the two champions in the ring. But he also understands boxing is unlike any other sport it getting things done.

“Boxing is not so cut and dry where this guys should fight that guy, let’s do it, let’s make it happen,” he said “There are a lot of other things involved. It’s just good the two sides finally agreed. You have to understand, it’s not just the fighters, it’s the promoters and networks and so many other things that have to work out for an agreement to happen. It’s just great it finally did.”

Gonzalez is not prepared to pick a winner for the May 2nd fight.

“I don’t think you can pick a clear-cut favorite in this one. I think it’s gonna be a great fight. I just hope both boxers aren’t hesitant,” he said. “You want them to be aggressive and get after it. I don’t see a clear-cut favorite at all.

“My opinion is, if anyone says this is what’s going to happen, how it’s going to play out, I think they’re just guessing. It’s nothing you can call. No one really knows. So we’ll see.”

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Puig and Uribe’s struggles land them on the bench

Phoenix – The Dodgers shake up of their starting line up Saturday was partially intended to get Andre Ethier and Justin Turner some at bats.

But it’s hard to ignore the guys sent to the bench just happen to be mired in slumps to start the season. Turner was at third base in place of Juan Uribe, who is hitting just .231 with a .286 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging percentage.

Meanwhile, Ethier was in right field replacing Yasiel Puig, who is hitting .083 with a .211 on-base percentage and a .176 slugging percentage.

Uribe has 3 hits in 13 at bats without a extra-base hit or RBI and Puig has just 2 hits in 17 at-bats with a double and one RBI.

It’s early, but those kinds of numbers usually gets you a day off to get your head cleared, although Dodgers manager Don Mattingly insisted the move was as much about getting other guys involved as it was giving Puig and Uribe a chance to collect themselves.

“Just really working (Turner) in and working Andre in. Been planning it for a couple days,” Mattingly said. “(Uribe) knew before the (Friday’s) game, I kind of waited on Yasiel. I kinda thought it was him but, if he had thrown up three or four (hits) yesterday, got his momentum going in the other direction I probably would have waited.
“But just watching him yesterday I felt it was the right day to get him a breather. And with the day game tomorrow we wanted to make sure we had the right guys out there tomorrow.”

Puig did manage a hard-hit line-drive single in Friday’s game, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the lineup on Saturday.

If nothing else, Mattingly doesn’t want Puig’s struggles getting the best of him early in the season.
“He’s just getting more frustrated it seems like, as it goes along. I just don’t want him to get there, honestly,” Mattingly said. “It’s like anybody else that’s searching for that feel right now. And that changes on any at bat. That’s why I’m glad he got a hit yesterday.”

Mattingly doesn’t sound worried Puig will eventually break out.

“He’s getting some pitches to hit. He’s fouled some balls back. He’s had some good swings he hasn’t gotten a hit on too.,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the pitching it’s more like how he’s feeling. When he gets going it’s not gonna matter.

“I just think getting the feel. ‘m not really worried about patience. Once Yasiel starts getting that feel then he’ll be on a roll.”

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Another Cuban on Dodgers’ horizon?

The Dodgers might not be done turning to Cuba to bring in reinforcements.

After signing Cuban third baseman Hector Olivera recently for $62.5 million over six years, and adding him to previous Cuban imports in pitcher Onelki Garcia, second baseman Alex Guerrero and outfielder Yasiel Puig, there is growing belief they are now targeting hard-throwing Cuban right-hander Yadier Alvarez.

According to a report by Jon Heyman of, the Dodgers have extensively scouted Alvarez, with team president Andrew Friedman traveling to see him in the Dominican Republic, where Alvarez has established residency.

According to Heyman’s report, Alvarez, throws 94-97 mph but has hit 99. Alvarez is petitioning MLB to allow him to sign in this signing period rather than wait until July 2, although there is no word yet on whether his petition will be approved.

If it is, the Dodgers might soon be adding a young arm to their organization. According to a recent story by Yahoo Sports, Alvarez is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound 18-year-old who burst onto the international prospect scene upon blowing scouts away in the Dominican Republic.

The Dodgers, it seems, have taken notice.

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