Today could be the day the Dodgers formally switch Triple-A affiliates from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City. The Oklahoman reported the move in August. Yesterday, BaseballAmerica.com reported that 23 minor-league teams have a two-week window to secure new affiliations beginning today, and that Albuquerque and Oklahoma City are two of those teams.
When the move was first reported, I mentioned that former Albuquerque Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy (now the Dodgers’ third base coach) offered his scouting report on exactly what playing at 5,200 feet does to a developing baseball player.
Here is that scouting report. This isn’t to presume that elevation was the primary reason for the Dodgers moving their Triple-A affiliate — far from it. Rather, Bundy’s experience adds some nuance to our understanding of why playing at elevation might be more or less desirable from a player development standpoint. This might be a business move first and foremost; here’s the baseball end of it:
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. doesn’t regret his situation. He’s back in the major leagues after a year-and-a-half layoff. Monday, he was batting leadoff at Dodger Stadium. For the season, he’s batting .250 and is a regular in the Phillies’ outfield rotation.
If he could do anything over from the last two years, however, he admitted that he should have had surgery early in 2012. That’s when Gwynn first noticed the symptoms the led to his sports hernia surgery in September of last year.
The symptoms persisted throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
“I didn’t want to have surgery at all,” he said. “I had just signed a 2-year deal at that point. The last thing you want to do is sign a deal then sit out a period of time. That’s what I was thinking at the time. But you live and you learn. You feel invincible when you’re younger. I learned the hard way that wasn’t the case.”
Hanley Ramirez fist-bumps Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, who will become the team’s bench coach in 2014. (Associated Press photo)
The Dodgers finalized their 2014 coaching staff Monday with two notable changes. Tim Wallach is moving from the third-base coach’s box to become Don Mattingly‘s bench coach, and Lorenzo Bundy, who managed the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes the last three years, was named third-base coach.