Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, who’s been in the Dodgers’ spring training camp this weekend, released a statement through the team Sunday announcing his formal retirement as a special advisor to Chairman Mark Walter.
“I’m 80 years old and I have retired,” the statement read. “I have not quit. I’m still part of the Dodgers’ organization and always will be especially as long as Mark and Kimbra Walter are part of ownership. I will do most of what I have done in the past with no official title. I hope all the players, coaches, manager and everyone else in the clubhouse have successful and healthy seasons with a spectacular ending. See you Opening Day.”
Unlike in recent years, Koufax did not speak to reporters on the record during his annual visit to camp, leaving the statement to stand as his only interaction with the press. Koufax was appointed a special advisor prior to the 2013 season and has been a fixture in camp each year, mostly working with pitchers during their bullpen sessions.
Opening Day is April 4 in San Diego. The Dodgers’ home opener is April 12 against the San Francisco Giants.
Clayton Kershaw, who will start Opening Day against the Padres on April 4, has made five consecutive Opening Day starts. The Dodgers have won all five games. (David Crane/Staff photographer)
On April 5, 2010, Vicente Padilla started for the Dodgers against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s notable for a handful of reasons. It was Opening Day, and the only time in the last nine years the Dodgers have begun their season on the road against a non-NL West opponent.
It was also the last time someone other than Clayton Kershaw started on Opening Day for the Dodgers. Vicente Padilla. There’s your trivia answer.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sandy Koufax was here in Dodgers camp today. So was a line of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of the Hall of Fame pitcher and special advisor. Koufax, who has signed autographs in the past on the back fields of Camelback Ranch, spurned all of them.
Koufax didn’t speak to reporters either, opting instead to do the entirety of his work Friday inside the Dodgers’ spring training complex on his first day in camp. It could be his only day in camp; Koufax caught several high-ranking team officials by surprise with his annual appearance.
The 80-year-old has worked with the Dodger pitchers each of the last three years. He’s the marquee name among a list of guest instructors and special advisors this year that includes Greg Maddux, Eric Gagne, Shawn Green and Ron Cey, among others.
New manager Dave Roberts said he’ll continue the tradition of using Dodger alumni as spring training instructors. Don Newcome (left), Tommy Lasorda (second from right) and Maury Wills (far right) have all coached or spoken to players in recent years. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)
PASADENA — Dave Roberts
is less than two months into his job as the Dodgers’ manager. Speaking at John Muir High School on Tuesday afternoon, part of the team’s annual community caravan tour, Roberts said he has touched base with most of his players, “quite often actually.”
After his engagement at the high school, Roberts said he planned to pop into Dodger Stadium, where the club’s Player Development staff is holding a leadership camp with select minor leaguers.
There’s still plenty on his docket between now and the time pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training — Feb. 19, a mere 24 days away. To that end, Roberts touched on a few aspects of what lies ahead in his first camp:
PITTSBURGH — The Dodgers will give away a Sandy Koufax bobblehead to the first 40,000 fans in attendance at next Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Here’s what it looks like; as you can see the scoreboard seems to indicate he is throwing a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs: