Padres unite Ian Kennedy, Carlos Quentin in trade with Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers haven’t completed any trades this morning, and don’t appear to be close on any either. They have had some interest in making trades within their division, but that’s a difficult proposition. Especially when you’re in first place, the rest of the division trying to knock you off your perch.

That didn’t stop the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres from pulling off a rare intradivision swap Wednesday morning. The Padres receive starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, while the Diamondbacks receive relief pitcher Joe Thatcher, minor-leaguer Matt Stites and a draft pick.

The trade unites Kennedy and outfielder Carlos Quentin in San Diego, the two players responsible for inciting benches-clearing brawls with the Dodgers this season.

Report: Dodgers scouting three Milwakee Brewers relievers.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that are scouting Milwaukee Brewers relievers John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Mike Gonzalez, according to CBSsports.com.

The three relievers are expected to be made available in trades before the upcoming deadlines – July 31 is the non-waiver trade deadline and August 31 is the waiver deadline.

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New Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez is happy for a change of scenery.

Ramon Hernandez

Ramon Hernandez caught the pitcher he was traded for Saturday, Aaron Harang, in Cincinnati and in Oakland. (Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post)

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.”
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Dodgers’ starting rotation watch drags into final week.

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.”

That the Dodgers are in no rush to get a look at Lilly, Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang as relievers is a strong indication that a trade or two (or three) will come soon.

Chris Capuano: Starter or reliever?

ChrisxCapuano

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.”
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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers haven’t begun contract extension talks.

"<strongClayton Kershaw, who is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed before the 2011 season, said Tuesday that he hasn’t begun negotiations on an extension.

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.”

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Dodgers sign Kevin Gregg to minor-league contract.

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.

Daily Distractions: Don Sutton bobblehead; updates on Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez.

Don SuttonDon 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 …

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Daily Distractions: Cardinals need a starter; Astros need a dime; happy birthday Hank.

Chris  CarpenterSt. 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 …

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Daily Distractions: Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson; minor-league signings; Scott Rolen update.

Jackie Robinson was born 94 years ago today in Cairo, Georgia. To commemorate the occasion, Google baked a birthday cake with 94 candles on top made Robinson the “doodle” on its home page today.

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:

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