Daily Distractions: Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu throws, Justin Sellers speaks, Mike Piazza writes.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is throwing and the photographers writers are on the scene with their digital SLRs cell phones:

 

Some of the Dodgers’ position players are in camp one day early. That includes Justin Sellers, who this morning told reporters at Camelback Ranch that his recent arrest in West Sacramento was “a misunderstanding.” Sellers said he does not need to be present at his scheduled court date in March.

All the pitchers are in tow, including injured reliever Scott Elbert. The left-hander told reporters yesterday that he doesn’t expect to be back until May – not unexpected, since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow Jan. 23 and Sept. 19, 2012. One catcher still hasn’t reported – non-roster invitee Eliezer Alfonso has been delayed by a family issue.

Some links for a Thursday morning:

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Daily Distractions: More Jackie Robinson, Scott Rolen, and a full album.

Jackie Robinsonbaseball cardColleague Brian Charles dug up the background story on Jackie Robinson’s “Google doodle” yesterday, and it’s an interesting one.

Turns out that Robinson, who was born 94 years ago yesterday, inspires the tech sector, too.

“By celebrating Jackie today, we’re hoping to spread his message of respecting each other as a human beings,” Mike Dutton, the artist who created the image, told Charles in an email Thursday. “Nobody else has changed the game quite as significantly — and with the same kind of poise and dignity in the face of adversity, no less — as Jackie Robinson.”

One more nugget from that story: John Singleton, the filmmaker and Pasadena City College graduate behind the forthcoming Robinson biopic “42″, has been approached by PCC about having an advanced screening of the movie in Pasadena.

Some casual links for a casual Friday:

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‘Obviously Justin Sellers has issues.’ Video.

Justin Sellers’ arrest in West Sacramento last weekend made us wonder what the Southern California native was doing there in the first place, and just how bad his motorcycle excursion was in order to prompt an arrest.

This news report from CBS Sacramento provides some answers. Turns out that Sellers has a condominium in the city, and his motorcycle riding was bothering neighbors and scaring some kids. Judging by the cramped layout of the complex, you can see why. The local anchor could only conclude, “well, obviously Justin Sellers has issues he has to take care of.”

At least he didn’t get sprayed by a neighbor’s hose, like field reporter Anjali Hemphill and her cameraman:

Justin Sellers arrested in West Sacramento.

Reserve infielder Justin Sellers was arrested Saturday in West Sacramento for reckless motorcycle driving. Justin SellersThe 26-year-old was charged with one misdemeanor count each of reckless driving and evasion, and released by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department late Saturday.

Some additional details from Sacramento-based KCRA.com:

Police said Justin Sellers was doing “wheelies” on his motorcycle in a neighborhood near Riva Drive. When officers tried to pull him over, police said Sellers took off.

After a short chase, Sellers turned himself in, authorities said.

West Sacramento police said they have had repeated reports of a motorcyclist driving recklessly in the same neighborhood for the past month.

Sellers batted .205 with one home run and two RBIs in 19 games last season. His year ended prematurely when he went sprawling into the seats to catch a foul ball at Dodger Stadium May 14; he injured his back on the play and ultimately had season-ending surgery.

Sellers is on the 40-man roster but was not expected to start the 2013 season in the majors, buried deep on the infield depth chart after the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker.

Injury updates on Hairston, Sellers, Ellis, Kemp, Rivera, Uribe.

Dodgers head athletic trainer Sue Falsone had a busy day Thursday — a day off for the team, but hardly a day off for the trainer with a disabled list of eight players.

Justin Sellers became the latest addition as he took the place of Jerry Hairston Jr. on Friday. Hairston was in the starting lineup and Sellers was reduced to performing core exercises after an MRI Thursday revealed a slipped disc as well as a stress fracture in his lower back.

The injury is related to the head-over-heels catch Sellers made May 14 –but not entirely.

“He had what’s called a spondylolysis, or a stress fracture, back in high school,” Falsone said. “A lot of younger athletes have it. A lot of older athletes have it. It’s no big deal — a little stress fracture in the back.”

Falsone went on to explain that the stress fracture created an area of weakness that was exacerbated when Sellers tumbled into the stands. At first he reported back pain, then numbness down his right leg from the hip to the toe.

Both Sellers and Falsone were optimistic that he would only need the minimum 15 days on the disabled list, but “if it doesn’t get better, we might have to remove part of the disc,” Sellers said.

The infielder is hitting .205 with three doubles and a home run in a reserve role.

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Abreu in, Sellers out.

Bobby Abreu is a Dodger.

Less than a week after he was released by the Angels, the 38-year-old outfielder signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers in advance of today’s game against the Chicago Cubs. Abreu was not listed in the starting lineup.

The 17-year veteran was hitting .208 at the time of his release. Last season, Abreu batted .253 with eight home runs and 60 RBIs. Abreu is a lifetime .293/.397/.877 (BA/OBP/OPS) hitter and counted Don Mattingly as his hitting coach with the New York Yankees from 2003-06.

To make room for Abreu on the active roster, infielder Justin Sellers was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Sellers batted .150 (3-for-20) with two doubles in 10 games (7 starts).

The Dodgers now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.

Sands optioned; Hawksworth to 60-day DL, Wright added to 40-man.

The Dodgers exercised an option on Jerry Sands today and assigned him to their minor-league camp, reducing the major-league camp roster to 39.

Sands had been hitting .158, his sixth hit in 38 at-bats serving as the game-winning RBI single in yesterday’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

“More than anything, we’ve got to let Jerry in our minds, let him settle down and get his swing back together, let him get to work and just get ready to play,” manager Don Mattingly said.

After Monday’s game, Sands admitted he’s been a bit off while trying to make adjustments to his swing during camp. Visibly, his swing didn’t look the same as it did last season with the Dodgers, when he hit .253 (50-for-198) with four home runs and 26 RBIs.

“Small things can throw big things off,” he said. “Going up to the plate worried about things going on with my swing and not worried about picking up pitches – it’s tougher than it looks up there. I’ve just kind of been out of it so far. I’ve got to get back to seeing some pitches.”

Now he’ll get that chance. Mattingly said that Sands is still the team’s “best option” in the long run to come off the bench and spell Andre Ethier or James Loney against left-handed pitchers.

“We just need to simplify things, get him back to work, get him out of the thought of this team right now,” Mattingly said. “Get him back to where he puts himself back together, and have a shot to be able to help us when he comes back.”

With Sands out, several players are still in the running for the final position player spot on opening day. Mattingly specifically mentioned infielders Justin Sellers, Luis Cruz and Josh Fields. Sellers is on the 40-man roster; Cruz and Fields would need to be added.

“We don’t know who it’s going to be,” Mattingly said.

Additionally, the Dodgers placed Blake Hawksworth on the 60-day disabled list, and officially announced the signing of Jamey Wright and added him to the 40-man roster.
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Dodgers 4, White Sox 3.

Jerry Sands‘ walk-off single drove in pinch-runner Elian Herrera in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Dodgers (11-8-4) to the win before 5,816 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Sands’ single was just his sixth hit in 38 Cactus League at-bats, and it came at a critical time as the roster is trimmed in advance of opening day.

“I’ve been feeling pretty brutal just trying to work on some things,” Sands said. “Changes here and there, just trying to get comfortable now after making some changes, all kinds of stuff. Just trying to get rhythm and timing after making changes is the hardest thing.

With two strikes against him, Sands lined a single into left field that Kosuke Fukudome could not field cleanly, allowing Herrera to score easily from second base. It was only the sixth hit by the Dodgers all afternoon, as starter Chad Billingsley allowed 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

All of those hits were singles, however, and Chicago left nine runners on base. Billingsley also walked two and struck out five.

Dee Gordon stole two bases, giving him a major league-leading 10 this spring. Andre Ethier‘s fifth-inning double was his eighth, tying him for the major league lead with a pair of luminaries, Lorenzo Cain and Matt Carpenter.

A few more notes:

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Giants 3, Dodgers 3.

The Dodgers salvaged a point in the standings before an announced crowd of 13,655 — a Cactus League record — at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang pitched four interesting innings; the stage was set when a whipping wind blowing out to left field picked up prior to the game. Brandon Belt benefited when his fly ball to left turned into a two-run homer that gave the Giants a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But those were the only runs Harang allowed, thanks in part to a first-inning double play started by Justin Sellers at third base. Harang walked none, struck out four, and allowed seven hits in his third appearance of the spring.

The Dodgers got a run back in the bottom of the first. Sellers led off with a double and came around to score on a single by Juan Rivera. That was the only run the Dodgers’ lineup — counting only Rivera, Matt Kemp, James Loney among the projected opening-day starters — could produce against journeyman left-hander Brian Burres in three innings.

Kemp singled in Tim Federowicz in the fifth inning and Luis Cruz homered (to left field, naturally) in the sixth to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2.

In the eighth inning, Gregor Blanco doubled off minor-league pitcher Shawn Tolleson and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Belt.

That accounted for all the scoring which, naturally, barely accounted for the story in the Dodgers’ third tie game of the Cactus League (8-4-3).

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Updates on Ethier, Sellers.

Andre Ethier’s absence was an easily overlooked facet to a crazy game in Peoria. Ethier was a late lineup scratch due to “mid-back stiffness” that he experienced during batting practice Saturday morning.

“I talked to Dre,” Mattingly said. “He said ‘I didn’t get stretched out.’

“They treated him and let him go home. We’ll see him tomorrow morning.”

The manager expressed only mild concern that Ethier recently complained of a stiff back during the team’s first full-squad workout of the spring. Ethier was already scheduled to sit out tomorrow’s game against the Cubs and that won’t change.

Justin Sellers left Saturday’s game complaining of a headache after being struck in the chin by a batted ball in the third inning. “Doctors cleared him and sent him home,” Mattingly said. “Last I heard, there was no concussion.”