Don Mattingly hasn’t filled out his lineup card yet for tomorrow’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox. But the Dodgers manager revealed Friday that he’s planning to start Andre Ethier in right field, Skip Schumaker in center field and Jerry Hairston Jr. in left.
Clayton Kershaw is expected to start and pitch roughly two innings, which would give the Dodgers the minimum four regulars that teams must use in exhibition games. “Regulars” has taken on some loose definitions in the past, but at least none of these four players will start the season in Triple-A.
“We’re going to use our guys,” Mattingly said. “We have to get them ready. Our number one objective is to get guys ready. During that, there are rules … within that, as far as pitchers and how we’re doing it, you’re trying to get your team ready knowing that you’ll have guys that are out there.”
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is about as close as it gets to a sure thing here – on the field, in the community, in the clubhouse. Second baseman Mark Ellis is aging but consistent. Then the questions begin. Who will back him up? Can Hanley Ramirez’s glove be trusted at shortstop or at third base? What happens to Dee Gordon? What is Juan Uribe doing here?
Eight Dodgers will participate in the World Baseball Classic, according to preliminary rosters announced today.
Mexico: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 3B Luis Cruz, SS Alfredo Amezaga.
Venezuela: RP Ronald Belisario
Dominican Republic: SS Hanley Ramirez
Spain: RP Paco Rodriguez
Australia: RP Peter Moylan
Italy: INF Nick Punto
Moylan and Amezaga signed minor-league deals with an invitation to spring training. The other six players are currently on the 40-man roster.
Dodgers Spanish-language color commentator Fernando Valenzuela will be the pitching coach for Team Mexico, a Dodgers spokesperson confirmed, even though he isn’t listed on Mexico’s roster online.
Former Dodgers outfielder Karim Garcia is listed on Mexico’s roster. Former Dodger Andruw Jones, a native of Curaçao, is playing for The Netherlands. Adrian Gonzalez’s brother, who finished last season in Japan, is also playing for Team Mexico.
No Dodgers will win Gold Glove awards this season. That was an anticlimactic revelation in an hour-long show on ESPN2 Tuesday night, when the awards were announced on live television for the first time.
Florida Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle got the award over Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, the last of the Dodgers’ finalists to be announced. Kershaw completed his second consecutive errorless season and hasn’t committed an error since Aug. 1, 2010 but Buehrle, who left the Chicago White Sox to sign with the Marlins last winter, has won the award each of the last three seasons in the American League.
Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves edged Andre Ethier for the award among National League right fielders. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees got the nod over Adrian Gonzalez among American League first basemen (Gonzalez was one of three AL finalists despite being traded to the Dodgers in August).
Three Dodgers won Gold Glove awards last season — Kershaw, Ethier and center fielder Matt Kemp.
Adrian Gonzalez was on the field at Petco Park Tuesday, a couple hours before first pitch, when a crowd of roughly two dozen onlookers screamed his first name in unison. They were all wearing the same thing,navy-blue collared shirts and dark gray slacks that revealed their status as Petco Park employees.
Maybe each of them had a personal memory of Gonzalez, maybe not, but it was a nice moment emblematic of Gonzalez’s personal relationship with San Diego.
“We’ve just got to focus on winning,” Gonzalez said on the eve of his first game here since he was traded to Boston in December 2010. “But I was born here, grew up here, and so there’s definitely a lot more connection.”
When he came to the plate in the first inning, the reception was more lukewarm, a mix of boos and cheers from a typically small crowd. Many of those cheers came from Dodger fans.
But Gonzalez said before the game that the reception didn’t matter. San Diego is still home — literally –and he spent the Dodgers’ off-day Monday with his wife and daughter. “We went down to Chula Vista,” he said. “Had some really good tacos.” Continue reading →
So much so that it was easy to miss this nugget of wisdom, which the general manager dropped when he was asked if the Dodgers’ 5-12 stretch since Aug. 26 has caught him by surprise: “I try not to ever be surprised,” he said, “because I accept every day for what it brings.”
It’s easy to see where he’s coming from. One day, your cleanup hitter is James Loney. Next it’s Adrian Gonzalez. One day, you’re working for Frank McCourt. The next day, it’s Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson.
Don Mattingly tacitly agreed with the comparison in his postgame press conference, saying: “we’re having our troubles putting up runs. (Eric) Stults, he can pitch, he can change speeds and keep the ball down, but I think we’ve got to do a little better job.”
Adrian Gonzalez’s first game against the Padres as a Dodger on Monday inspired a bit of soul-searching in San Diego. Not from Gonzalez himself — he called it “just another series” — but from the local media, which is taking advantage of this series to look both forward and backwards.
The Union-Tribune sent its sports enterprise reporter to Dodger Stadium recently, as did a San Diego radio station. Jay Paris of the North County Timestoday came to grips with the unfamiliar sight of Gonzalez in (Dodger) blue:
It’s still difficult accepting that Gonzalez exited San Diego in the prime of his career. …But that is dirty water under the bridge. He’s a Dodger, like it or not Padre Nation, and will be for a long time.