Jose Dominguez was back in the Dodgers’ clubhouse Wednesday, making it safe to say a trend has emerged.
Five games into the season, the Dodgers haven’t had the same 25-man roster for more than two games in a row.
Brian Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 31, with right elbow ulnar nerve inflammation. Dominguez was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he did not make an appearance, and is available for tonight’s game at 7 p.m. Dominguez allowed three runs in one-third of an inning March 23 in Sydney, Australia.
Dominguez was optioned to Albuquerque during the seven-day downtime that followed. Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list. With Kershaw out and Josh Beckett expected to make a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga, the rotation for this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium became official.
Looking a couple days ahead: The Dodgers announced that tickets are still available for Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium with the purchase of a 30-game miniplan. Of course, the secondary ticket marketplace is rife with single-game ticket options (see here, here, here and here). The public address announcer will be a familiar voice: Ross Porter, who spent 28 years as a Dodgers broadcaster beginning in 1977.
Here are the lineups for both teams for the rubber match of the three-game series at Petco Park:
Ryu is already 1-0 with a 0.00 earned-run average after picking up the win last Sunday in Sydney, Australia. Ryu shut out the Arizona Diamondbacks for five innings before a toe injury caused him to come out of the game.
That injury has healed, Mattingly said, and Ryu will oppose Andrew Cashner at Petco Park in the Padres’ Opening Day game.
Clayton Kershaw was originally scheduled to start the game, but a back injury forced him to sit out. Kershaw might begin the season on the disabled list.
Ryu threw a bullpen session prior to Friday’s game and passed that preliminary test. Zack Greinke will pitch the second game of the series Tuesday against Ian Kennedy and Dan Haren will oppose Tyson Ross on Wednesday.
Haren will also start the finale of the Freeway Series on Saturday, a game that’s scheduled to begin just after 6 p.m. at Angel Stadium.
First, the good news: Kershaw played catch Friday at Dodger Stadium for the first time since an MRI of his left upper back Wednesday showed inflammation of the teres major muscle. Kershaw didn’t speak to reporters, but Mattingly filled in the details of his conversation with the pitcher.
“I think in his mind that went really well,” Mattingly said. “He said he didn’t feel anything throwing. He wasn’t trying to throw 95 (mph) or anything. My next question was, ‘did you feel anything the other day?’ and he said ‘yes.’ That tells us he’s taken a little step forward. That doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, but that means we continue on with the process moving forward. He’ll throw again tomorrow with a little more intensity and we’ll see how that goes.”
San Diego Padres manager Bud Black told reporters in Peoria, Arizona on Saturday that Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross will start in that order against the Dodgers for their season-opening series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.
Cashner will start Opening Day on Sunday, March 30, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kennedy takes the ball on Tuesday, April 1 and Ross on Wednesday, April 2.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said yesterday that Zack Greinke and Dan Haren will start two of the three Freeway Series games against the Angels, March 27-29. That rules both pitchers out for the March 30 and April 1 starts in San Diego. Expect Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to get those assignments, with Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm serving as outside possibilities.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The story of the game was Julio Urias, the 17-year-old prodigy who needed 14 pitches to mow down the San Diego Padres’ first three batters. Mike Brito, the scout who signed Urias, had a cigar hanging from his mouth as he walked the Dodgers’ clubhouse after the game.
Don Mattingly said
Urias will be in the rotation by May “at the latest”: “For me, with young guys, you know it’s going to be a little while. You have to build him up. He hasn’t thrown that many professional innings. To me, you can like him all you want but you really need to grow up, and part of that is the expectation for a 17-year-old. You’re always going to get a lot better. Well, he has to get a lot better, right?
“I had a kid a couple years ago in the (Arizona) Fall League who was a can’t-miss, can’t do anything (wrong) and he’s still not in the big leagues,” Mattingly continued. “I think it’s just easier to let him grow up. He looked really good. For 17, 18, 19 or 20 he looked really good, but I still think we have to let him grow up.”
So we shall. The game that followed Urias’ debut was a good one for a number of Dodgers. Dee Gordon tripled, scored a run, and laid down a bunt for a base hit. He also stole his ninth base (in nine tries). Miguel Rojas went 2 for 3, raising his average to .440. Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second base and scored on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez.
San Diego rallied for four runs in the eighth inning off minor-league right-hander Romulo Sanchez. Sanchez got out of his own bases-loaded jam by striking out former Dodgers farmhand Alex Castellanos to end the inning.
Mattingly said after the game that Guerra, and possibly Jansen and Howell, would pitch in tomorrow’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
The box score is here.
There’s another game here starting in 80 minutes.
Some notes and observations:
• Mike Baxter had a busy day in the field. He played right field, center field and first base in the game. He hasn’t played first base to this point in spring training but he told me that he played the position in college (Vanderbilt) and has been taking ground balls with the other infielders throughout camp.
• Gordon’s bunt hit was not a drag bunt, just a 10-footer between home plate and the mound that made the Padres scramble. He beat the throw by a step.
• The Dodgers drew seven walks in the game. Andre Ethier had two.
• Carl Crawford went 0 for 3, lowering his Cactus League batting average to .138. More from the bad batting average department: Joc Pederson (0 for 1), .192; Hanley Ramirez (1 for 4), .229; Tim Federowicz (0 for 3), .077.
• I wonder which can’t-miss prospect Mattingly was referring to. Could it have been this guy?
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Julio Urias‘ first appearance in a major-league game Saturday was practically over before it started.
The 17-year-old lefty threw 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning against the San Diego Padres at Camelback Ranch. He struck out Will Venable swinging after falling behind 3-0 — all on fastballs — then got Chris Denorfia to ground out and struck out Yonder Alonso swinging on a slider. Three up, three down, 14 pitches, nine strikes.
Urias threw all three of his pitches for strikes. His fastball was clocked in the 93-96 mph range; his curveball in the 75-80 range and his changeup in the 75-79 range.
“I felt really happy. I was under control and not nervous at all,” Urias said through an interpreter.
With his father, Carlos, and an uncle in attendance, Urias garnered as much attention as anyone from the announced crowd of 13,232.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” Urias said. “I’m happy to be with the Dodgers.”
Sam Demel was originally listed as the starting pitcher for the game. Urias was informed Saturday morning that the plans had changed. That only made him more comfortable; Urias started each of the 18 games he pitched last season for Low-A Great Lakes. By starting instead of reliving he had a full bullpen session before the game to get loose.
Dodgers scout Mike Brito, who signed Urias as a 16-year-old in August 2012, said the plan calls for Urias to begin the regular season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Based on the early returns, Urias might not need to be in the California League for long.
“I was not surprised,” Brito said. “He was very impressive.”
Brito, who also signed Fernando Valenzuela as a teenager, doesn’t think it will take long for Urias to be ready for the major leagues. Valenzuela debuted at 19 years old.
Urias said he’d like to be in the majors by the end of the season. The Dodgers have only suited up six 18-year-olds in their history and two 17-year-olds, none since Charlie Osgood in 1944. Urias turns 18 on August 12.
When Albert Einstein was 17 years old, he was studying math and physics in a teaching diploma program in Zurich. Mozart was working as a court musician in Salzburg at 17.
Left-hander Julio Urias is starting for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres today, and that might not be too big a leap for the 17-year-old prodigy. The Dodgers signed him as a free agent in August 2012, when he was 16. By the end of last season, he was pitching in low-A Great Lakes.
Urias was dominant. In 18 starts, he allowed 44 hits, walked 16 and struck out 67 batters in 54 ⅓ innings. His 2.48 earned-run average and 1.104 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitch) are the signs of a pitcher who won’t be in the Midwest League long.
Today, Urias was originally scheduled to pitch an inning out of the bullpen. Club officials decided it would be better for Urias to start and pitch a full pregame bullpen session as he’s accustomed to doing, rather than possibly warm up on short notice if scheduled starter Sam Demel encountered trouble in the middle of an inning.
A scout recently clocked Urias’ fastball at 98 mph in a minor-league game. We’ll see how he fares against the San Diego Padres.
There was discussion yesterday about Brandon League possibly pitching an inning out of the bullpen one day after he threw in a minor-league game. Instead League will pitch in a minor-league game tomorrow. He seems unlikely to make the trip to Sydney, Australia, but the Dodgers haven’t made that announcement yet. Here’s what Don Mattingly did announce this morning.
The lineups for both teams for the 1 p.m. game:
For now at least, the Dodgers continue to clear room. Reliever Shawn Tolleson was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, leaving the 40-man roster at 31.
Tolleson’s 2013 season was sabotaged by injury. He appeared in one game in April, but couldn’t sleep following the game because of an intense pain his back. Later that month, he had season-ending back surgery.
The Dodgers had to replace his innings somehow, and right-handers Chris Withrow, Jose Dominguez and, later, Carlos Marmol and Brian Wilson, all held down the fort. That was apparently enough for the Dodgers to feel comfortable about cutting ties with the 25-year-old, who not long ago was chosen as the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year.
In 40 games in 2012, Tolleson went 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA, striking out 39 batters in 37 ⅔ innings.
Forget “Poolgate.” Call the controversy over the Dodgers’ postgame celebration “The Real World: Phoenix” (and hope MTV doesn’t keep a copyright attorney on retainer).
Apparently, prior to the series, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked the Dodgers to confine their clinching celebration to the visitors’ clubhouse. They even stationed some security guards on the field Thursday to make sure the Dodgers didn’t do anything crazy:
— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) September 20, 2013
As it always does, human nature set in. When someone is ordered not to do something, he finds his best way around it. Ever pull into the carpool lane while stuck in traffic and driving alone? Ever sneak a peak at your phone at a red light, look for a cop, then quickly put the phone away? (There was a case of crude rebellion on Project Runway last night. Ah, reality TV — the reality is, I was ironing before you got into the room!)
The Dodgers ran across the field and into the pool.
Even Arizona senator John McCain chimed in today:
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) September 20, 2013
Again, this wasn’t about a celebration.
Hall, now the Diamondbacks’ president, is the Dodgers’ former director of public relations. He may have discretely asked the Dodgers not to go back onto the field to celebrate, but then how did Scully find out and mention this on the broadcast? That got the fans involved, too. Pretty brilliant way to incite a rivalry, accidentally or otherwise.
Seeing the drama go viral, it’s not hard to imagine Hall sipping on some champagne himself this morning.
Some bullet points to get you through the weekend: