Sandy Koufax perfect game ball, Jackie Robinson bat, Roy Campanella ring highlight all-star auction.

Jackie Robinson bat

A baseball used by Sandy Koufax to throw his perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965, a Jackie Robinson bat from 1953, and Roy Campanella’s Hall of Fame induction ring are among the items being auctioned at the All-Star fan fest next week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Koufax ball was donated by former major league player and manager Jeff Torborg, who caught the game.

Hunt Auctions has pictures and a full description of the Koufax baseball, the Robinson bat and the Campanella ring.

Bids can be placed online or by telephone (610-524-0822). Bidding for the live auction begins Tuesday, July 15 at 10 a.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Coincidentally, the three players were the first to have their numbers retired by the Dodgers.

Daily Distractions: Red Patterson up, will start second game of doubleheader in MLB debut.

Nick Buss

Outfielder Nick Buss was designated for assignment Thursday. (Associated Press photo)

Red Patterson‘s major-league debut will come in the second game of a doubleheader today against the Minnesota Twins.

The Dodgers selected the contract of Patterson from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated Albuquerque outfielder Nick Buss for assignment. Patterson, who will wear No. 51, was added to the roster as the 26th man for today’s doubleheader. Major-league rules allow teams to dress 26 players in a day-night doubleheader that has been on the schedule for at least 24 hours.

Patterson went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts this season with the Isotopes, last pitching on April 24 at Fresno and allowing five runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings in a loss. The 26-year-old has gone 33-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 132 games (58 starts) in five minor league seasons after he was selected in the 29th round of the 2010 draft out of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Patterson has 432 strikeouts, while walking only 148, in 440.0 career minor league innings.

The Texas native made his first appearance in Major League camp this year as a non-roster invitee and allowed only one run in 11.2 innings (0.77 ERA), going 0-1 and limiting opponents to a .146 batting average (6-for-41). As for the name, shared by a longtime Dodgers PR director, it comes from his hair color. Patterson’s real first name is John.

Buss, 27, had a .261/.330/.391 slash line in 26 games with Albuquerque. He was buried on an outfield depth chart that includes Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and Chone Figgins. Mike Baxter was designated for assignment in March. Buss went 2-for-19 after making his major-league debut with the Dodgers last September.

Here are the lineups for both teams in Game 1. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m.

Dodgers:
Gordon 2B
Puig RF
Ramirez SS
Gonzalez 1B
Kemp DH
Ethier CF
Uribe 3B
Olivo C
Crawford LF
Haren P

Twins:
Dozier 2B
Mauer 1B
Plouffe 3B
Kubel LF
Pinto DH
Suzuki C
Fuld RF
Hicks CF
Escobar SS
Pelfrey P

Some bullet points for a World Book Day:
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Scary moment as Andre Ethier’s line drive hits Sandy Koufax in the head.

Dodgers special advisor Sandy Koufax was conscious and in good spirits after being struck in the side of his head by a batted ball during batting practice Friday.

Koufax was standing near the bullpen, in foul territory behind third base, when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Andre Ethier. Koufax remained on his feet as the gathered crowd went silent, then sat down in a cart driven by assistant athletic trainer Nancy Patterson, holding an ice pack to his head.

Koufax was quickly driven in the direction of the Dodgers’ minor-league complex. A few minutes later, Patterson and Koufax drove back in the direction of the Dodgers’ main clubhouse. Koufax waved and smiled to the fans as he was carted off.

Update (1:30 p.m.): Koufax said that a CT scan of his head showed no internal bleeding. Other than a cut on his upper-left forehead, Koufax looked and sounded the same.

“I’m fine,” Koufax said. “I never saw (the ball). I don’t know how it got me.”

Koufax joked about wearing a helmet onto the field tomorrow.

“I feel like I’ve got more whiplash than anything,” Koufax said.

Daily Distractions: Look out spring training, here comes Sandy Kofuax.

Sandy Koufax

Security guards at Camelback Ranch hold back a large crowd while Sandy Koufax signs autographs on Feb. 18, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sandy Koufax arrived at the Dodgers’ spring training facility Sunday.

If last year was any indication, there is no need to romanticize the meaning of Koufax’s presence here. The greatest pitcher in Dodger history changes the atmosphere in a way that requires no imagination. His first season in camp as a special advisor to chairman Mark Walter was part spectacle, part inspiration, part chaos.

Like a septugenarian southpaw Svengali, Koufax caused complete strangers to huddle together in their aggressive quest for an autograph. Fans surveying the scene went from quietly attentive to loudly impatient. Koufax quickly joined a short list of 78-year-olds who can command multiple security guards while strolling between baseball fields.

When Koufax showed up last year, so did a bunch of pitchers. Pedro Baez, Chris Reed and other fresh-faced hurlers were shuffled in from the minor-league camp to learn from the master. Overnight, the Dodgers’ bullpen went from a tutoring center to the Westminster Dog Show. Every delivery would be scrutinized for imperfections like a poodle’s tail, and the the final judgment would be unassailable. If Koufax thought your curveball needed tweaking, you tweaked your curveball — even if the tweak didn’t take (as was the case for Hyun-Jin Ryu).

Koufax wasn’t in camp more than a few days. During the season, he didn’t often visit Dodger Stadium. Opening Day and the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves were notable exceptions. So it’s unlikely that the novelty of Koufax’s presence will wear off — not now, not ever. He’s a rockstar in a park full of them.

Bad spring training pictures (like mine, above) will be taken, shared and reshared like porn. Koufax porn. Enjoy your Koufax porn, folks. It doesn’t come around often.

Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
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Where does Thursday’s win rank among Clayton Kershaw’s best?

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 Atlanta Braves batters in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday. It was his first career postseason win, and his first win ever against the Braves. (Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw was asked where Thursday night’s win ranked among the best of his career. It was his first postseason win in his sixth postseason game (third start), and he allowed just one earned run on three hits in seven innings.

“It’s up there,” Kershaw said. “It’s probably — it might be the best just because it’s my first postseason win. I haven’t ever won a game. We got to win in one other game that I pitched that I started in, but this one definitely has special meaning to me for sure.”

A couple facts and figures about Kershaw from tonight’s game that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
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Daily Distractions: Report: Alexander Guerrero cleared to sign with MLB teams.

Alexander Guerrero made headlines Monday morning for the first time in about six weeks, which is impressive considering 1, he hasn’t played any baseball in the meantime and 2, he hasn’t signed a contract yet. The latest news is that the Cuban second baseman has finally been cleared to sign with any MLB team.

The Dodgers reportedly signed Guerrero in July — a report that was denied by Guerrero’s agentonly to be called the front-runner to sign him today. That elicited elation in some corners, temperance in others.

Two evaluators familiar with Guerrero from Cuba suggested back in July that his value has been inflated by that of fellow Cubans Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. Guerrero isn’t in their league as a hitter, or that of first baseman Jose Abreu, who also recently defected and will play somewhere in MLB next season. One person I spoke with suggested that Guerrero would need time at Triple-A first.

While recent history suggests that the Dodgers can win a bidding war for Guerrero, would they want to? Two things to recall since that first report came out in July:

1. The Dodgers reportedly tried trading for Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. Talks fell through at the July 31 deadline and Kendrick injured his knee, making him an unattractive piece for the Dodgers’ playoff push. But if the framework for a deal was solid enough to revisit talks with the Angels this winter, maybe the Dodgers have turned away from Guerrero. Just speculation there.

2. Perhaps just as important, the minor-league regular season is over. No team can stash Guerrero in Triple-A for a stretch and see how he performs before adding him to the major-league roster. Do the Dodgers consider time in the minors necessary for Guerrero, or just a nice bonus? Would they really throw Guerrero on the expanded major-league roster now, in the middle of the playoff hunt? If not, would Guerrero be willing to wait until next season to play in the majors?

Some more bullet points for California’s 163rd birthday:

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Daily Distractions: Clayton Kershaw joins an exclusive group of Dodgers All-Stars.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw became the fourth Dodgers pitcher to appear in three consecutive All-Star Games. (Associated Press)


Clayton Kershaw didn’t start the All-Star Game — Matt Harvey did — though he did join a different exclusive group Tuesday.

Kershaw became the fourth Dodgers pitcher ever to throw in three straight All-Star games. He fared better than the last Dodgers pitcher to do so; Eric Gagné gave up a solo home run in the 2002 game to Alfonso Soriano, allowed three runs in one inning the following year, and tossed a scoreless inning in his final All-Star appearance in 2004.

Fernando Valenzuela pitched two scoreless innings in the 1984 All-Star game, one scoreless inning in relief of Nolan Ryan the following year, then pitched three (!) scoreless innings in his final All-Star appearance in 1986.

Don Newcombe (1949-51) is the other. Like Gagné, his third and final All-Star appearance was the only one in which he didn’t allow a run.

Whit Wyatt, Ralph Branca and Sandy Koufax were all chosen to pitch in three straight All-Star Games or more, but for various reasons did not.

Of course, some were still focused on one Dodger who wasn’t in the game Tuesday.

The American League won the game, 3-0, and will have home-field advantage in the World Series. Mariano Rivera threw a scoreless inning, was named MVP and will be responsible for every baby born today in New York City named “Mariano,” “Mo” or, perhaps, “Sandman.”

Some bullet points for a Slovakian Independence Day:

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Daily Distractions: Caving to the #whiff, like the rest of MLB

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown agreed to give away a free Krusty Burger if the United States won gold at certain events in the 1984 Olympics. When the Soviet Union boycotted the Games, Krusty stood to lose $44 million.

For some reason I was reminded of this episode when this came through my Twitter feed this morning:

CJ Wilson ad

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson is a pitchman for Head & Shoulders’ hashtag-friendly “Season of the Whiff”.

You see, Procter & Gamble is donating $1 to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) campaign every time a Major League Baseball player strikes out this season. To raise awareness of its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, P&G is encouraging fans to tweet the hashtag #whiff along with the hashtag of your favorite team.

According to AdAge.com, Head & Shoulders spent $60 million in measured media last year, so MLB’s record strikeout rate probably won’t leave the company’s executives pulling their hair out like Krusty. Which is good, since bald shampoo executives can’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of their product.

I’ll be here all week.
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Daily Distractions: The Dodgers’ pitching depth could be worse.

Ted Lilly

Ted Lilly makes his 2013 debut today against the New York Mets. (Getty Images)

When Ted Lilly starts tonight, the Dodgers will have used eight starters in their first 20 games of the season. SI recaps how the Dodgers got there.

The eight-starter experiment was basically a big game of “what if”: What if Chad Billingsley‘s elbow doesn’t hold up? What if Ted Lilly isn’t the same pitcher he was pre-surgery? What if the best pitcher in Korea can be one of the best pitchers in the United States? What if he can’t?

Here’s another “what if”: What if the Dodgers hadn’t gone out and acquired Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and entered this season with the same collection of starters they had a year ago?

Now you’re looking at Nathan Eovaldi stepping into the fifth starter’s job to replace Billingsley. Oh, wait. Eovaldi hasn’t pitched since spring training because of a shoulder issue. He’s on the 60-day disabled list (currently the Miami Marlins’ problem). Come on down, Stephen Fife.

After Fife, you’re looking at Allen Webster (who made his first major league start three days ago), Rubby De La Rosa (9.31 ERA for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate), Fernando Nieve, John Ely and perhaps Sandy Koufax as the next in line to start a game for the Dodgers.

You can thank your lucky Guggenheims that isn’t the case.

Some more bullet points for a Wednesday morning:
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