Daily Distractions: After a long dry spell, Dodgers catchers are starting to hit.

Tim Federowicz

Tim Federowicz is batting .108 since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)

A.J. Ellis won’t be catching Clayton Kershaw‘s rehabilitation start Friday in Rancho Cucamonga.

The fact that this was even a possibility, 15 days after the catcher had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, is a bit mind-boggling. Ellis has been taking batting practice regularly, caught Kershaw’s bullpen session Tuesday, and is running on an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill — the same one that got Matt Kemp in shape during spring training.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that the initial 4-6 week timetable is still in play for Ellis, but that could change soon enough.

In the meantime, a couple trends have emerged. Drew Butera has caught three of Zack Greinke‘s last four starts. The term “personal catcher” hasn’t entered the discussion yet, but the two have had high praise for each other and Mattingly might choose to keep them paired together, even after Ellis returns.

Tim Federowicz has caught 10 games to Butera’s six since Ellis went down, and has just four hits in 37 at-bats. Two of those hits have come since Paul Goldschmidt whacked him in the left hand over the weekend.

“Each day is getting better,” Federowicz said Wednesday. “Right now I’m really focused on my defense. Offense will come. I’m not worried about it.”

Can fans be so patient?

In spite of the fact that the two healthy catchers have a modest three-game hitting streak, Federowicz and Butera are still batting a combined .145 (8 for 55) since Ellis had his surgery. For his part, Ellis was batting just .167 (4 for 24) before going on the DL.

The Dodgers might have bigger problems than this one, so it’s flown a bit under the radar. Just don’t expect to see any catchers batting higher than eighth unless one, at last, catches fire.

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Daily Distractions: Watch Joc Pederson make a baseball disappear.

Joc Pederson made a baseball disappear Tuesday, with an assist from a Triple-A cameraman.

Pederson hit his third home run of the young season (above) in the Albuquerque Isotopes’ win over the Reno Aces. We know only that the ball cleared the center-field fence in Reno, which is 410 feet from home plate. It’s an understatement to say that Pederson has taken quickly to the Pacific Coast League; he’s 8 for 17 (.471) with three homers, two doubles and two stolen bases in the first five games of the season.

No one needed a reminder of Pederson’s skill. He spent all of spring training with the Dodgers, traveling to Australia for the exhibition game against the Australian National Team. He hit three Cactus League home runs but also struck out 13 times in 38 at-bats. If anything, the PCL is serving as a confidence booster for the 21-year-old prodigy.

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Daily Distractions: A.J. Ellis to miss 4 to 6 weeks following arthroscopic surgery.

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis underwent a 20-minute arthroscopic procedure, performed by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, to debride (clean up) the medial meniscus of his left knee. According to the team, he will start his rehabilitation tomorrow and recovery is expected in 4-6 weeks.

Catcher Tim Federowicz, who wasn’t in the Albuquerque Isotopes starting lineup Monday or today, is expected to be recalled from the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in time for tonight’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

On Oct. 5, 2012, ElAttrache performed a 30-minute clean up procedure on Ellis’ medial and lateral meniscus.

Ellis is already recovering and receiving top medical care:

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Dodgers 3, Colorado Rockies 3: Of course spring training ends in a tie.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run in his final Cactus League start. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers ended the Cactus League portion of their season the only appropriate way: With a tie.

The Colorado Rockies scored a run in the seventh inning off Chris Withrow, tying the game 3-3, and the Dodgers’ final game in North America until March 27 ended in a tie. It was the Dodgers’ fifth tie in 21 exhibition games, giving them a final spring training record of 6-10-5.

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 ⅓ innings. Not unusually, he encountered the most trouble early.

Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a single but was picked off the bag. In the second inning, the Rockies got back-to-back singles by Matt McBride and Charlie Culberson. Both runners advanced a base when Ryu’s pickoff throw to second base got away from everyone for a throwing error.

The second inning ended on a dramatic double play — for a minute. McBride, trying to score on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jordan Pacheco, was out at home plate on a nearly 300-foot throw by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig. Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the call. One television replay clearly showed that Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis missed McBride on his tag attempt. The umpires don’t always have the same vantage point when reviewing a call in Cactus League play, but the crew correctly overturned the call.

The Dodgers players had all retreated to the dugout after the apparent inning-ending double play. They filed back onto the field, Ryu made a couple warm-up tosses, then got D.J. LeMahieu to pop out on one pitch.

Adrian Gonzalez‘s single through a drawn-in infield scored Carl Crawford with the Dodgers’ first run. With Gonzalez on first base, Juan Uribe hit an RBI to the left-center field gap, scoring Gonzalez with the go-ahead run.

In the fifth inning, Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to drive in Ryu and pad the Dodgers’ lead. Ryu drew a walk to lead off the inning against Jordan Lyles and Carl Crawford followed with a single up the middle. Right-hander Bruce Kern relieved Lyles and allowed a single to left field by Hanley Ramirez that loaded the bases. Gonzalez’s fly ball to center field was plenty deep for Ryu to tag up and score without a throw.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryu gave up a solo home run to Nolan Arenado on a 2-2 fastball at the knees, bringing the Rockies within 3-2.

Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen didn’t allow a run out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers finished with a cumulative attendance of 114,402 in 12 home dates at Camelback Ranch for an average of 9,534, the highest average attendance since the team relocated Spring Training to Arizona in 2009. Last year, the Dodgers drew 133,460 in 17 home dates (including one WBC game) for an average of 7,851.

The box score is here.

Dodgers’ intrasquad game is in the books; Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez make some noise.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed home runs to Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez in the first inning of the Dodgers’ intrasquad game on Sunday. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez hit home runs against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first inning of the Dodgers’ 4-inning intrasquad game Sunday at Camelback Ranch. Those accounted for all the runs in a 3-1 victory for Team Wills (drafted by Matt Kemp) over Team Koufax (drafted by Zack Greinke.)
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Daily Distractions: Jarrett Martin is taking his first major-league camp seriously.

Jarret Martin

Jarret Martin (right, with Daniel Moskos) was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster in November and is taking part in his first major-league spring training. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Pre-spring training statistics aren’t official. Nonetheless, we’re going to go ahead and declare that Jarret Martin arrived in camp leading the Dodgers in off-season bullpen sessions with 10.

“I didn’t want to be the guy behind in my first big league camp,” Martin said.

He isn’t behind, and the extra work hasn’t had any adverse effects on his left arm. His were short sessions, about 30 pitches max, which suits Martin’s semi-new role as a relief pitcher.

In 14 starts last season for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Martin went 5-7 with a 4.79 earned-run average. His control (43 walks in 71⅓ innings was subpar. The faster track to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster resided in the bullpen. There was plenty at stake, since Martin was eligible for the Rule 5 draft if the Dodgers didn’t add him to the 40-man.

Martin made the switch in June and took to the role quickly. As a reliever, his opponents’ batting average dropped from .263 to .212. Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga in August, Martin posted a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances. He got his coveted 40-man roster spot in November.

There’s no such thing as having too few left-handed relievers in the major leagues, but once camp breaks Martin is likely headed to Double-A or Triple-A. Once there, Martin has the opportunity to define his own role.

“They said (being a reliever) isn’t permanent, but if it is I’ll accept it,” Martin said. “We’ve got a great starting rotation, so I understand that.”

Martin needs to throw more strikes; he threw 56 percent of all his pitches for strikes last season between Single-A and Double-A. He might, by his own admission, need to throw fewer changeups and stick to his fastball and slider as a relief pitcher. And he needs to learn to pace himself.

“As a starter I never really paced myself,” Martin said. “I actually threw harder as a starter late in the game.”

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Dodgers, Kenley Jansen avoid arbitration with 1-year, $4.3 million contract.

Kenley JansenThe Dodgers avoided arbitration with Kenley Jansen on Tuesday, signing their closer to a one-year, $4.3 million contract.

Jansen had filed for $5.05 million and the Dodgers for $3.5 million. If the two sides couldn’t find middle ground in the next week, they would have had to present their case before an arbitration panel Feb. 18 in Tampa. The panel would have to decide to award Jansen either his salary request or the team’s.

The contract pays Jansen slightly more than the $4.275 midpoint of the two dollar values.

Dodgers avoid arbitration with A.J. Ellis; catcher signs 1-year, $3.55 million contract.

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with catcher A.J. Ellis on Saturday, agreeing to a 1-year, $3.55 million contract.

Ellis requested a $4.6 million salary when figures were exchanged Jan. 17; the Dodgers countered with $3.0 million. He’ll earn something below the exact midpoint ($3.8 million) but still gets a nice raise over his $2 million salary from 2013.

The 32-year-old batted .238/.318/.364 in 115 games last season, while his 3.06 catchers’ ERA led all major-league starting catchers.

Closer Kenley Jansen is the Dodgers’ only remaining arbitration-eligible player. He’s requested a $5.05 million salary and the Dodgers have countered at $3.5 million. Asked Saturday if he anticipates a deal getting done before the two sides head to arbitration, general manager Ned Colletti said only that “it takes two.”

An arbitration hearing date hasn’t been set.

Daily Distractions: Who will be the next Hall of Fame inductee with a Dodgers logo on his cap?

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux pitched 23 games, regular and postseason, in separate stints with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2008. (Getty Images)

Greg Maddux won’t have a logo on his Baseball Hall of Fame cap. It was never going to be a Dodgers logo, but that got me to thinking: Who will be the next Hall of Fame inductee with a Dodgers logo on his cap?

The Hall of Fame has a list of future candidates, listed by year of eligibility. (They haven’t gotten around to scratching Bobby Abreu‘s name off the 2018 list, assuming Abreu makes the Phillies’ roster.) Another future eligible is still on the Dodgers’ payroll (Andruw Jones). Jeff Weaver and Chan Ho Park become eligible in 2016.

Among the serious candidates, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield did some of their best work in Dodgers uniforms.

Manny is 14th on the career home run list, and ninth in career slugging percentage and OPS. But he spent eight seasons in Cleveland and eight in Boston before his brief tenure as a Dodger. He also failed a drug test. Given the current climate toward known PED users among Hall voters, that won’t bode well for Ramirez. It didn’t bode well for the candidacy of Rafael Palmeiro (12th on the career home run list, off the ballot next year).

Sheffield played for eight teams in 22 seasons. If that doesn’t scream “please don’t put a logo on my hat,” I don’t know what does. And despite his gaudy career numbers, they aren’t much gaudier than those of Jeff Bagwell (listed on 54.3 percent of ballots this year) or Larry Walker (10.2 percent). He also took a designer steroid by his own admission, albeit by accident, and that might be enough to earn a thumbs-down from three-quarters of Hall voters.

Looking at the current ballot, Mike Piazza will wear a Mets hat if he gets in. Jeff Kent (listed on 15.2 percent of recent ballots) isn’t getting in.

In reality, you might be looking at someone on the current roster — one of these four — but only if their skills, health and the voters cooperate. Don’t hold your breath.

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Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis fail to reach agreements with Dodgers prior to 10 a.m. deadline.

The Dodgers failed to reach agreements on a new contract with catcher A.J. Ellis and closer Kenley Jansen prior to Friday’s 10 a.m. deadline for arbitration-eligible players. Jansen and Ellis are both eligible for arbitration, and will have their cases heard before an arbitration panel in February if they can’t come to an agreement on a new contract with the Dodgers by then.

Soon, we’ll have the salary figures that the team and each player has submitted for arbitration. The Dodgers have been busy this week finalizing a seven-year, $215 million contract with Clayton Kershaw. It figures that negotiations with Ellis and Jansen took a back burner to Kershaw, and each could have a new contract in the coming weeks.

No player has taken the Dodgers to arbitration since 2007, when relief pitcher Joe Beimel lost his case. Three years before that, the Dodgers won their arbitration case with closer Eric Gagne.

Ellis became arbitration-eligible for the first time last year. He’s coming off a 1-year, $2 million contract. Jansen is eligible for the first time and stands to get a significant raise after leading the Dodgers in saves each of the last two seasons.