Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw shows his competitive fire throwing live batting practice.


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Clayton Kershaw mixed all his pitches into a 40-pitch batting practice session Saturday, his first of the spring. One, a hanging slider, resulted in a home run by Juan Uribe over the left-field fence on a back field at Camelback Ranch.

Kershaw also faced Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner in what amounted to a two-inning stint. No other balls left the infield (or would have at least, if there were any actual infielders on the field).

“I’m going to have to hear about Uribe hitting a home run off me all season,” Kershaw quipped. “I’m glad I gave him some confidence for the year.”

More than a confidence boost for Uribe, the afternoon was a showcase for Kershaw’s competitiveness. The reigning National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner still has it, even when throwing live batting practice to his teammates in February.
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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, Clayton Kershaw discuss MLB’s pace of game initiatives.

MLB.com

photo courtesy of MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Don Mattingly and Clayton Kershaw chimed in today on MLB’s pace-of-game initiatives, which will be enforced by umpires beginning with the first Cactus League game Wednesday.

Mattingly is of the opinion that hitters, who must keep at least one foot in the box every time they take a pitch, will be able to adapt quickly.

“Every other situation — a ball gets away, a guy throws over, guy steps off the mound, you can step out of the box at that point,” Mattingly said. “I think the biggest thing with pace-of-play is, they’re announcing the inning break at 40. They’re announcing the first hitter with 40 seconds left on the clock. At 25, the walk-up music’s got to be off. At 20, he’s got to be in the box. Those type of things are things our guys are going to have to get used to.

“I think once they get used to this it’s not going to be an issue. It’s like anything else; guys are going to adjust. You throw 100 — keep throwing 100, keep throwing all fastballs, they’re going to get hit. Our guys are going to adjust to these rules.”

So will pitchers have the bigger adjustment to make?
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Getty Images has posted the Dodgers’ Photo Day pictures, and some of them are awesome.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers held their annual Photo Day this morning, with players showing off for the Dodger team photographers, SportsNet LA, MLB Photos, MLB.com, MLB International, ESPN the Magazine, Topps, USA Today, Getty Images, Baseball Digest and the Associated Press.

I have no idea what the Getty photographer was telling half these guys but, well, see for yourself. The full gallery is here; feel free to caption these gems:

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Erik Bedard, Clayton Kershaw to start Dodgers’ first two Cactus League games.

Erik Bedard

Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard will start the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There are 33 pitchers listed on the Dodgers’ major-league spring training roster. Don Mattingly and his staff have mapped out a plan whereby “you’ll see pretty much everybody those first four days, or most everybody.”

Erik Bedard will start the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. Clayton Kershaw will start Thursday, also against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. They’re both scheduled to throw two innings in the game, plus another inning in the Dodgers’ bullpen after that.

“Even saying that,” Mattingly said, “there will be some type of pitch count that you’re protecting. I’m not going to let a guy go out there if he gets caught in an inning. We’ll stop it.”

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Watch: The line for Sandy Koufax.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – A linked chain of metal fences line the dirt paths at Camelback Ranch, separating fans from the players and coaches who walk from field to field. Most of the players probably don’t need the protection. Demand for autographs is high but the fervor is usually calm. Remember, there are 61 players in camp. Most won’t start the season in the majors, and none of them are Matt Kemp. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gets his share of autograph requests too, but he’s not exactly fending off the pens and baseballs and hats.

The man who needs the metal fences the most is a slender 79-year-old who lives in rural Pennsylvania. Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-”special advisor,” is here all week — advising, watching, chatting. Sometimes he signs autographs.

Koufax is not expected to arrive today until later in the morning, maybe noon local time. That — and intermittent rain throughout the morning — did not stop Koufax fans from lining up behind the fence at 5 a.m.

Here’s what the line looked like by 9:30:

We think this story ends with Koufax signing autographs for some of those people, and not signing for others.

That’s how it usually ends at least. If not … updates throughout the day.

Mr. Spock, a Dodger?

The actor who played Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series and movies, Leonard Nimoy, died today. Here’s something you might not have known: He once played for a certain baseball team in Brooklyn.

An IMDB.com synopsis for the movie reads:

Rich, eccentric T.J. Banner adopts a feral cat who becomes an affectionate pet. Then T.J. dies, leaving to Rhubarb most of his money and a pro baseball team, the Brooklyn Loons. When the team protests, publicist Eric Yeager convinces them Rhubarb is good luck. But Eric’s fiancée Polly seems to be allergic to cats, and the team’s success may mean new hazards for Rhubarb.

Hopefully this gives you second thoughts about your screenplay about a cat owning a baseball team.

Sandy Koufax watches Julio Urias in the bullpen today (photo).

Julio Urias Sandy Koufax
Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias posted this photo to his Instagram account Thursday, along with the caption:

“Que personaje de los mejores zurdos en el negocio Mr. Sandy koufax.. bendecido por mi dios #teamwey”. Roughly translated: “The VIP from the best left-hander in the business Mr. Sandy Koufax … blessed by my God #teamway”

Report: Matt Kemp says the Padres have the best outfield in baseball.

Matt Kemp

Former Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp believes he’s part of the best outfield in baseball in San Diego. (Associated Press)

Is Matt Kemp trolling the Dodgers, or just being himself? Or both?

Kemp told MLB.com that the Padres have the best outfield in baseball: “You can write it down — and print it.”

Writes Lyle Spencer:

Judging by the clubhouse crowd gathered around him, with animated conversation flowing around the comparative talents of NBA superstars Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, Kemp has swiftly won over his new teammates with his vibrant personality.

This is not the Matt Kemp often seen alone with his thoughts the past few years at Dodger Stadium, frustrated by multiple injuries and a shifting role in the midst of an array of outfielders.

This Kemp is fully engaged, eyes alive, sparkling. The best player in the game in 2011, finally healthy and coming off a huge second half last season, he is eager to get started with turning the remodeled Padres into a force in the National League.

Report: Dodgers receive 2015 draft bonus pool, 2015-16 international bonus pool allotments.

According to BaseballAmerica.com, all 30 teams have received their 2015 draft bonus pool and 2015-16 international bonus pool allotments.

For the Dodgers, their draft bonus pool will be $6,954,700 and their international bonus pool will be $2,020,300.

The international bonus pool money is particularly important. By not signing Yoan Moncada (or even offering him a contract, for that matter), the Dodgers can sign certain international players to a bonus greater than $300,000. That puts them at a competitive advantage over their National League West rival Diamondbacks, who forfeited that right by signing Yoan Lopez. Writes Ben Badler:

The Angels, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees will also be unable to sign any pool-eligible players for more than $300,000 during the 2015-16 signing period. They do still keep their entire bonus pool, however, and are free to trade the individual slot values that comprise their pool.

 

While the majority of July 2 signings come from Latin America, especially the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, the bonus pools cover players classified as international amateurs from all countries not subject to the June draft. Cuban players are subject to the bonus pools as well, unless they are at least 23 years old and have played five or more seasons in Serie Nacional, in which case they are exempt.

Infielder Hector Olivera, to whom the Dodgers have been linked, isn’t subject to the international bonus pool restriction. Pitcher Yadier Alvarez is.

Five more Dodgers spring training games won’t be blacked out in Southern California.

The Angels released their complete spring training television schedule on Thursday. The good news for Dodgers fans: Their five head-to-head games against the Dodgers (March 19, March 28 and April 2-4) will not be blacked out in SportsNet LA markets.

The April 4 game is on KCOP, the April 2 game is on Prime Ticket, and the other three are on Fox Sports West.

Other than a tape-delayed March 6 game against the Milwaukee Brewers on MLB Network, these are the only spring training games available on TV to non-Time Warner Cable subscribers. Currently, SportsNet LA is only available to Time Warner subscribers in Southern California.