Daily Distractions: A scout’s take on Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Erisbel Arruebarrena

Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena is batting .136 for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

Erisbel Arruebarrena provided a nice distraction during spring training. Reporters covering the Dodgers spent countless minutes rolling our “R”s, trying to pronounce Arruebarrena, figuring out how many “U”s were in the name, and mostly waiting for the 24-year-old shortstop to arrive in the U.S.

When he finally did get his visa and arrive in spring training on March 13, the Cuban shortstop was shuffled to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. Then the major-leaguers left for Australia. Hardly anyone got to see the kid play baseball.

Nearly two months later there he is, taking up a space on the 40-man roster and $25 million of the Dodgers’ payroll over the next five years. Ever since Arruebarrena reported to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s proceeded to bat .136/.188/.220, which hardly seems to justify a $25 million contract. Was this signing a mistake? Was rolling my “R”s one big time-killerrrrrr?

A pro scout who recently watched Arruebarrena in the Southern League chimed in with this report.

I’d say Erisbel’s current offensive numbers are an accurate representation of his abilities – he has a long/loopy swing, almost like a golf swing that struggles to make contact with any type of pitch. He has serious recognition problems vs. AA-effective secondary stuff, turning his back early & often vs. almost all curveballs/sliders. Those things combined lead to rare contact on mistake fastballs only, or if a pitcher makes a bad decision to throw him the same loopy curveball three times in a row.

That said, him at SS is sometimes awesome to watch; way above instincts, really easy/super-quick receive-and-throw actions deep in the hole or going up the middle with a really good feel to complete very tough plays. He did flash a couple mental errors, like dropping a popup or ball bouncing off his glove with the infield in. Even with the bat how it is now I’d like to have him in my organization, because his floor is first-division middle infield-utility. As he gets comfortable over the next couple seasons in the US I think his feel/baseball IQ will improve a bit/less mental errors on both sides. I see him as a mid-.500s OPS guy but with major league top-5 shortstop defense.

Make of that what you will. It’s the most up-to-date scouting report we have on a player we know little about, perhaps the least known member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

Some bullet points for a Europe Day:
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Daily Distractions: The Dodgers’ “old-timers game” lineup is a star-studded affair.

Shawn Green

Former Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green, who participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for Team Israel, looks like he can still play. (Associated Press photo)

One of the first fantasy baseball leagues I participated in was a “legacy” league back in the 1990s. You could draft players from any era. Old Hoss Radbourn was in the league. So was Lyman Bostock.

That memory was rekindled when the Dodgers announced the list of participants for Saturday’s “old-timer’s game,” which will be played at Dodger Stadium after the 1 p.m. game between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

I mean, an outfield of Darryl Strawberry, Dusty Baker and Raul Mondesi? An infield of Nomar Garciaparra, Maury Wills and Eric Karros?

Admission to the game is free with a ticket to the Dodgers-Giants game. Introductions will be followed by a two-inning game. The full list of participants:

Team 1 (will wear Dodger home jerseys)
Dusty Baker OF
Tim Wallach 3B
Mickey Hatcher SS/OF
Steve Sax 2B
Mike Marshall 1B
Reggie Smith OF/1B
Steve Yeager C
Raul Mondesi OF
Davey Lopes 2B
Darryl Strawberry 1B/OF
Ron Cey 3B
Eric Gagné P
Fernando Valenzuela P

Team 2 (will wear Dodger alternate road jerseys)
Shawn Green OF
Derrel Thomas 2B/C
Bill Russell SS
Ken Landreaux OF
Eric Karros 1B
Rick Monday OF
Nomar Garciaparra 3B
Maury Wills SS
Steve Finley OF
Orel Hershiser P
Rick Honeycutt P

Additionally, Tommy Davis, Charlie Hough, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Manny Mota, Don Newcombe and Jerry Reuss will be on hand and a part of Old-Timers pre-game introductions.

Some bullet points for a South Korean Parents’ Day:
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Daily Distractions: Fans’ outrage toward Dodgers, Time Warner now includes an online petition.

Vin Scully
A fan petition calling on the Dodgers and Time Warner cable to “broker a deal” with local cable providers and “stop the defacto blackout” of the club on local television has 491 signatures on the website FansRising.com.

The campaign is planning additional action to raise attention to the issue, according to a press release from Fans Rising. Comments left by fans reveal that multiple petition signers are elderly fans no longer able to attend games who can’t watch on television.

“I saw my first Dodger game at Ebbets Field in 1938 and have been a faithful fan ever since,” wrote Doris Schalk. “I am now 84 and unable to drive, so don’t get to many games anymore, but being able to watch them all these years has been a god-send. The radio guys are very good – BUT I miss my Vin AND my Dodgers.”

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