New Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez was a happy man as he took in his new surroundings Sunday morning.
“This is one of the best teams in my whole career,” he said. “Maybe the A’s when I was young.”
The Dodgers still have eight starters in camp, and all eight remain on a starter’s plan. Even Ted Lilly.
“We’ve had some conversations with guys, but at this point everyone is working as starters,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters in Glendale this afternoon. “Anything could happen. Until Opening Day we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve talked about the possibilities of it with guys just so psychologically guys could know where it sits. We’ve tried to prepare for that as much as possible.”
Chris Capuano said Tuesday that he’d rather start than pitch out of the bullpen, but that might not be a possibility with the Dodgers. With eight starting pitchers in camp, jobs are scarce – essentially two spots for five pitchers.
Would he rather pitch out of the bullpen here, or start somewhere else?
“That’s a great question,” he said. “I want to be part of this organization and what’s going on here,” he said. “Most importantly I want to win. At this point of my career, I want to be part of something special. I would certainly have to think about it if the time came for that conversation.”
If the Dodgers don’t want negotiations to be an issue after the season, they better start talking.
“I don’t think I’m going to let it go into the season if it does happen at all,” Kershaw said. “There’s nothing to say yet. We’ll see.
“I’m not saying ‘get it wrapped up, or say anything.’ I’m just saying, during the season I’m not going to talk about it.”
The Dodgers signed right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg to a minor league contract with an invitation to major-league camp Sunday. Gregg, 34, is 28-38 in 10 major-league seasons for the Angels, Marlins, Cubs, Blue Jays, Orioles.
A total of 19 players have been extended non-roster invitations.
Along with Peter Moylan and Mark Lowe, Gregg is one of three NRIs in camp with at least 250 games of major-league experience. Gregg has 509, almost entirely out of the bullpen. The right-hander was 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 games for Baltimore last season.
Click here for a complete breakdown of the relief pitchers in Dodgers camp.
Don Sutton will be the fourth and final bobblehead given away during the 2013 season, the Dodgers announced today.
The mini-Suttons will be nodding yes on June 6. The 7 p.m. game that night against the Atlanta Braves is a three-star game under the Dodgers’ new pricing plan.
The other bobblehead giveaways this season include Hanley Ramirez on April 30 (vs. COL), Matt Kemp on May 14 (vs. WAS), Jaime Jarrín on May 25 (vs. STL), Sandy Koufax on June 27 (vs. PHI), Adrian Gonzalez on July 11 (vs. COL), Vin Scully on July 25 (vs. CIN), Hideo Nomo on Aug. 10 (vs. TB), a “flag saving” Rick Monday on Aug. 27 (vs. CHI) and Magic Johnson on Sept. 12 (vs. SF).
It’s the first-ever bobblehead for Sutton at Dodger Stadium, who was given the royal treatment in 2007 in Milwaukee. Sutton was a Brewer for two-and-a-half seasons and a Dodger for 16 – from 1966 to 1980 and again in 1988. He still owns several franchise pitching records, including wins (233), starts (533), games (550), strikeouts (2,696), innings pitched (3,814.0) and shutouts (52).
Which defunct San Francisco ballpark, and which former National League MVP’s reputation, are getting blown up? Read on …
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is expected to miss the entire 2013 season and may be forced to retire due to a series of injuries.
The 37-year-old was bothered by a nerve issue in his shoulder that limited him to five games last season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter currently has health concerns in his right shoulder, arm and neck.
Significantly for the Dodgers, who have a surplus of starters one week before pitchers and catchers are expected to report for spring training, the GM added that he’s “comfortable” with his starting rotation as it’s composed. Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are the right-handers; Jaime Garcia is the lone left-hander but he’s questionable to start the season because of an elbow injury.
Free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse went 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and would be a sensible replacement. If Mozeliak decides one lefty starter isn’t enough, he might end up calling Ned Colletti, who has two veteran southpaws (Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly) entering camp with no assurance of a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Lilly has health concerns too – he’s 37 and hasn’t pitched a major-league game since May 23 of last year – and is coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September.
The circumstances seem ripe for a trade, but it will hinge on both GM’s sense of urgency. Publicly, Colletti and Mozeliak say they’re in no rush to resolve their rotation situations, but we’ll see if that changes.
Onto the links …
We’ll be writing a lot about Robinson this year. The 66th anniversary of his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers is April 15. Three days earlier is the planned release date of “42,” the biopic starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. You can view the trailer here.
In light of this week’s news about a Miami-based PED lab that claimed several major-leaguers as clients, I’ll take this space to point out that Robinson was neither a drinker nor a smoker – let alone a juicer.
An often-overlooked local landmark is the plaque commemorating Robinson’s boyhood home at 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena. (There’s no home there now, just a plaque, as the home was torn down in the early 1970s.) Feel free to leave a present there today. Or a doodle.
Lots of links today:
Alex Rodriguez was one of several major-leaguers linked to a Miami PED distributor in a report today by the Miami New Times. At least so far, he’s the only player whose team is attempting to void his contract as a result.
The Yankees are exploring multiple avenues to void their contract with Alex Rodriguez, several baseball sources told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand.
The three-time American League MVP is owed $114MM over the next five seasons. An industry source says the Yankees “are looking at about 20 different things,” including whether A-Rod breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team’s authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from the clinic.
If the Yankees do take action to 86 the remainder of the third baseman’s deal, they can’t do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded, according to a source. For his part, Rodriguez has issued a statement denying the allegations.
If his contract is voided, could Rodriguez find his way to Chavez Ravine?
First, that’s a big “if.”
Juan Rivera‘s days as a Dodger seemed over from the moment the final out of the season was recorded. The 34-year-old was a free agent and Ned Colletti already had a backup corner outfielder under contract in Jerry Hairston Jr. (and later, Skip Schumaker).
In 109 games last season, Rivera batted .244 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs. It was a disappointing follow-up to his 62-game audition as a Dodger in 2011 (.274/.333/.406) in a year the Dodgers could have used him with injuries befalling Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and Shane Victorino, Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. doing little with their playing time.
The Dodgers purchased Rivera’s contract after he was designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12, 2011, then got a one-year $4 million contract after the season. The Dodgers chose to buy out Rivera’s contract for $500,000 rather than exercise his option for 2013.