MLB: Home run derby raises $465,000 for participants’ charities.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig didn’t hit any home runs in the Home Run Derby last night. (Getty Images)

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig didn’t hit any home runs at baseball’s annual Home Run Derby last night, but his bat had an impact.

All 10 participants in the derby teamed up to raise money for charity. With 82 total home runs hit during the competition (including 11 “FlexBall” home runs worth $10,000 each), Gillette and Major League Baseball combined to raise $465,000 to charity, according to the league.

Per an MLB release, the funds will be distributed as follows:

  • $50,000 to Yoenis Cespedes’ charity of choice for winning the competition
  • $95,000 to Minneapolis Boys & Girls Club programs and MLB “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities” (RBI) program
  • $20,000 to the charities of choice for each of Cespedes’ Derby teammates
  • $25,000 to NL Captain Troy Tulowitzki’s charity of choice
  • $25,000 to AL Captain Jose Bautista’s charity of choice
  • $8,000 to the charities of choice for each of the NL participants
  • The balance of the funds raised will be split between RBI & Boys & Girls Clubs of America

A Dodgers spokesperson said that Puig hasn’t chosen his charity yet.

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Former Dodgers pitchers Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park to be recognized Friday.

Two former Los Angeles Dodger All-Star pitchers will be honored on Friday.

Hideo Nomo will be inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. Ceremonies will be held on the field to honor the 2014 inductees prior to the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Japan.

Chan Ho Park will receive recognition during retirement ceremonies prior to the Korean Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Champions Field, Kwangju, South Korea. Park announced his retirement from baseball on November 30, 2012. He had a record of 124–98 in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Rangers, Padres, Mets, Phillies, Yankees, and Pirates.

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All-Star Game lineups announced; Yasiel Puig bats second, Clayton Kershaw in bullpen.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw has a no-hitter and a streak of 41 consecutive scoreless innings but won’t start the All-Star game tomorrow night in Minneapolis. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

Clayton Kershaw won’t start the All-Star Game for the National League despite throwing a no-hitter amid 41 consecutive scoreless innings this season.

And it came as little surprise.

National League manager Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals chose his own pitcher, Adam Wainwright, to start the game tomorrow night. Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 earned-run average. Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA, best in the major leagues. It’s a bit reminiscent of last year, when the All-Star Game was played at Citi Field and New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey got the start over Kershaw despite similar credentials.

It’s no secret that managers look at more than just the numbers.

“If I’m Mike Matheny, I probably start my own guy. If I’m me, I start my guy,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Saturday, when asked for his pick to start the game. “If I’m Bud Black, I’m starting Despanga [Odrisamer Despaigne] or whatever his name is.”

Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, who is taking part in tonight’s home run derby at Target Field, is batting second and playing right field. Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon and pitcher Zack Greinke are also on the National League roster.

The full lineups for both teams:
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Dodgers option Pedro Baez to Triple-A.

The Dodgers optioned pitcher Pedro Baez to Triple-A Albuquerque after beating the San Diego Padres 1-0 on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The corresponding roster move will be announced after the All-Star break. Baez pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday at Detroit in his most recent major-league stint.

Overall, Baez has allowed two runs in two innings with the Dodgers this season. The right-hander won’t have anywhere to pitch until Thursday, since the Pacific Coast League is in the midst of its own All-Star break.

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Corey Seager and Julio Urias appear in the Futures Game; Seager nearing promotion.

Corey Seager

Dodgers prospect Corey Seager is expected to be promoted to Double-A by the Dodgers after his apperance in the Futures Game today. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff photographer)


Dodgers prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias left an impression at the annual Futures Game at Minneapolis’ Target Field on Sunday.

At least one of them won’t be in Single-A much longer.

The 17-year-old Urias became the youngest player to appear in the Futures Game when he pitched the fifth inning for the World team. Urias pitched a scoreless inning, throwing 14 pitches and striking out one batter. His fastball was clocked as fast as 95 mph, according to MLB’s official speed-tracking software, and 97 according to the in-house radar gun.

Seager lined out to end the first inning and was hit by a pitch in his back, but remained in the game, in his only two plate appearances.

Multiple sources confirmed a report Sunday that Seager will be promoted to Double-A Chattanooga after the game.

The Dodgers haven’t made an official announcement, though Seager’s name had been removed from Single-A Rancho Cucamonga’s online roster by Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t on Chattanooga’s roster yet, either.

Seager, 20, is ranked among the top 30 prospects in baseball by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. He batted .352 with 18 home runs, 70 RBIs and a California League-leading .633 slugging percentage with Rancho Cucamonga.
The Futures Game is showcase game for the top-rated minor-league prospects. The Home Run Derby will be played in Minneapolis tomorrow and the All-Star game will be played there Tuesday.

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Chone Figgins will begin rehabilitation stint Thursday with Triple-A Albuquerque.

Chone Figgins

Chone Figgins will miss his 28th consecutive game today. (Associated Press photo)

Chone Figgins, on the disabled list since June 14 with a left hip flexor strain, said he will begin a minor-league rehabilitation stint Thursday with Triple-A Albuquerque. He’s not sure how long he’ll need after missing 28 games leading into the all-star break.

“It’ll be the same as when I went down and played there the first time,” Figgins said, referring to when he was optioned to Triple-A in late April. “They’ll move me around (the field). Hopefully I can get a lot of work in.”

Friday, Figgins reported a grabbing sensation in the area of his left hip when he attempted to steal a base in drills, but he said that was the only lingering symptom of the original injury. (The team originally called Figgins’ injury a left quad strain, but Figgins said it was a hip flexor.) Now he believes the sensation was a byproduct of a lack of physical activity.

“I think it’s going to continue to get stronger,” he said.

Figgins said he will work out at Dodger Stadium Tuesday and Wednesday under the guidance of team trainers.

The Triple-A All-Star Game, between the Pacific Coast League and the International League, is Wednesday. The Isotopes begin an eight-game homestand the following day.

The Dodgers hit the road after the all-star break, visiting St. Louis, Pittsburgh and San Francisco before returning home July 29. It’s probable that Figgins will rejoin the team by the end of the month.

Figgins has a .217 batting average and a .373 on-base percentage in 38 games this season.

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Photo gallery: Dodgers 1, Padres 0.

Matt Kemp

Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis is mobbed by teammates after a game winning sac fly ball as Adrian Gonzalez (not pictured) scores the winning run in the ninth inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the San Diego Padres 1-0. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)

Click here to view a photo gallery from the Dodgers’ 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres.

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For now, Dodgers are managing some vulnerabilities

Andre Ethier was back in center field Friday night, Carl Crawford might be on deck to relieve him at some point, Miguel Rojas was at shortstop and reliever Paul Maholm was the starting pitcher.

Just like the Dodgers drew it up in spring training, right?

Well, not exactly.

But hey, with the All-Star break beckoning and first place a matter of percentage points, whatever the Dodgers are doing manning some key positions seems to be working.

The question is can they keep mixing and matching their way to a division crown or Wild Card berth and a prolonged postseason run?

‘Yeah. I mean, were there right now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pointed out. “We’re not really where we want to be because we haven’t got to the end of the year. But as we sit here today we’re right in the race and we’ve been doing it all year, so I don’t know why we can’t keep doing it.”

That all remains to be seen of course. As summer gives way to fall and every pitch and out and executed play takes on more meaning we’ll see if the Dodgers are adequately situated defensively, most notably at shortstop and center field.

Plenty depends on a clean bill of health for Hanley Ramirez, although his play at shortstop has been waning for some time.

And that was before the flurry of injuries he’s dealt with.

As for center field, Matt Kemp quickly showed he wasn’t capable of providing sufficient defense and Ethier and back-up Scott Van Slyke are nobody’s fleet-footed defenders.

That’s one of the reason Crawford’s begun taking fly balls in center field after Kemp’s switch to left field put Crawford on the bench.

Speed and agility wise, Crawford should be able to handle the position if need be.

But then, Crawford’s left arm is a veteran of Tommy John surgery so the thought of him making throws from deep center field probably has opposing base runners smiling broadly as they sharpen their spikes.

Point is, with runs and outs at a premium – especially later in the year – can the Dodgers afford such vulnerability?

Mattingly simply points to the calendar and his club’s place in the standings and proof they can work around whatever weaknesses they may have.

“It means we have to be smart. We have to position. We have to move counts and things like that,” Mattingly said. “But I think we’re capable of doing that.”

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Carl Crawford in center field for Dodgers? Looks like it could happen

Depending on how you look at it, Carl Crawford taking fly balls in center field is either a noble gesture by a player wanting to do anything he can for the team or a harsh reminder just how thin the Dodgers are in one of the most defensive challenging positions on the field.

The answer is it’s a little bit of both.

With no one taking charge of the position – be it because of injury or ineffectiveness – the Dodgers have restored to manning center field by committee.

That typically means Andre Ethier and on occasion Scott Van Slyke, neither of whom will be mistaken for your quintessential center fielder. As for Matt Kemp, who began the year in center field, he’s now in left field – a move necessitated by Kemp’s noticeable loss of speed and agility after suffering through two injury riddled seasons.

Now you can add Crawford to the mix. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly dropped that little nugget on everyone Saturday when he revealed Crawford has begun getting work in in center.

“ He played it in the minor leagues and in Tampa and they kind of moved him. But I think with our situation there’s nothing wrong with him going out there and taking some fly balls,” Mattingly said. You never know what can happen. So, you know, we encouraged him to do a little work out there.”

While Crawford brings the much-needed element of speed to center, his arm strength is severely diminished after undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago.

Mattingly didn’t sound concerned Crawford’s throwing issues would be an issue, insisting Crawford could utilize his other assets to compensate.

“How many guys you see getting thrown out? Really, on the bases?,” Mattingly said, “It’s more about range and getting to balls. Carl really runs well. I think, like metrically, he’s been really good in left field. He’s a guy that will run a ball down for you.”

Mattingly was confident Crawford could keep runners going from first to third on outfield singles.

If not with his arm, then his legs.

“Absolutely. Because you use your speed in different ways,” Mattingly said. “That means, in case you don’t throw as well, you get to the ball quicker. You use your speed to cut down that time. You get rid of it quicker and you practice to be accurate. It’s not always about arm strength. It’s how you use the tools you have.”

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DODGERS JUSTIN TURNER CLOSES IN ON RETURN

Brian Wilson looked quizzically at Justin Turner as Turner approached him at his locker in the Dodgers clubhouse Saturday.

“Oh hey, welcome back,” Wilson finally said, shaking Turner’s hand.

“For a minute there I thought you forgot who I was,” Turner told Wilson, laughing.

“Not at all,” Wilson said. “If anything it was almost like you never left.”

In time and distance, Turner wasn’t gone very long and he didn’t stray very far.

But he was away nonetheless. Although it looks like his return is imminent.

Since landing on the disabled list on June 29 with a strained left hamstring Turner’s been in Arizona rehabbing the injury.

But his arrival back in Los Angeles over the weekend marked a significant milestone in his recovery. Things are going so well he’s been cleared to play Sunday in Single A Rancho Cucamonga – as a D.H.- and if everything goes well the back-up infielder could be back with the Dodgers by next Friday in St. Louis.

“We’ll see how it goes,” a hopeful Turner said after spending Saturday afternoon doing agility work in the outfield and running the bases.

“Everything went well,” he said. “You can’t simulate game speed, obviously, but I felt like I was as close to 100 percent as I can be.”

So now it’s off to the minor leagues to test the hamstring, and hopefully pave a path back to the Dodgers after the All-Star break.

For Turner, it will be full go as he gauges the strength in the leg.

And at the urging of the Dodgers training staff, no holds barred.

“They told me when I’m playing these games, no matter where the ball’s at try to make it as game like as possible,” Turner said. “Whatever it takes to have that confidence for what ever happens.”

 

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