Dee Gordon will start at shortstop today against the Cincinnati Reds, and Carl Crawford will make his debut in left field tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox, as the Dodgers explore options for their Opening Day lineup.
Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley confirmed that he’ll pitch in a minor-league game Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
Billingsley bruised the index finger on his pitching hand six days ago in a bunting drill but came back to throw a pain-free bullpen session Wednesday. His last Cactus League start was March 7 against the Texas Rangers. His last start of any sort came in a five-inning simulated game against minor leaguers on March 13, when Billingsley threw 78 pitches.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez will have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb Friday in Los Angeles, the team announced. He is expected to miss eight weeks, which projects to May 17, the Dodgers’ 39th game of the season.
“It’s bad,” he said. “But it’s something that I can’t control. It could have happened anywhere. It could have happened here. Unfortunately it happened at the WBC. It’s very disappointing.”
Dr. Steve Shin, a sports medicine hand specialist at Kerlan Jobe, will perform the surgery. Ramirez will have his thumb immobilized for 3 weeks.
Zack Greinke wants to make 34 starts during the regular season.
He might get that chance after all.
Making his first start against live hitters since he was shut down with elbow tightness earlier this month, Greinke threw four shutout innings in a Triple-A game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
The right-hander allowed a single, hit a batter with a pitch, walked none and struck out two. He threw 43 pitches.
“It wasn’t perfect command. You saw me upset with several pitches,” Greinke said. “It was my first outing in two weeks, so I guess that’s kind of expected.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. accepted an assignment to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp, catcher Ramon Castro was released and catcher Wilkin Castillo was re-assigned to the minor-league side Monday. The Dodgers have 43 players in camp.
Gwynn’s standing on the Dodgers’ depth chart has only fallen since he was designated for assignment and sent to Triple-A Albuquerque late last season. The Dodgers acquired Skip Schumaker for outfield depth over the winter and have seen Yasiel Puig emerge as an option at the major-league level, if not by Opening Day then maybe sometime this year. Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford have made steady progress in their recovery from shoulder and elbow surgery, respectively. Both could be ready for Opening Day, certainly Kemp and maybe Crawford.
In case you missed it, I wrote about Carl Crawford‘s return to the Dodgers yesterday. It was an emotional one. He’ll be back in the lineup today against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch, leading off as the designated hitter. He’s expected to do the same tomorrow against the A’s. Crawford said Monday morning that he’s still pain-free in his surgically repaired left elbow.
As sometimes happens, there wasn’t room in the paper for everything I wrote. Here’s what you missed:
The Dodgers have signed four players to minor-league deals: Curacao native Dashenko Ricardo, who is playing for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, and three amateurs from the Dominican Republic.
- Shortstop Dennis Santana was listed among the top amateur prospects from the shortstop-rich island. Here is video of Santana taking batting practice on July 2 last year.
- Shortstop Carlos Aquino reportedly agreed to terms a couple months ago.
- Left-hander Cesar Romero is probably unrelated to the actor of the same name who played the Cisco Kid and the Joker.
Ricardo might be catching Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen, and playing against Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, when the Netherlands plays the Dominican Republic tomorrow night in a WBC semifinal game in San Francisco.
Ricardo is hitting just .211 in the tournament, 4 for 19 with a pair of RBIs. For what it’s worth, Kenley Jansen was hitting .077 as the Netherlands’ catcher in the 2009 tournament. The Dodgers turned him into a pitcher and Jansen became the team’s closer three years later.
Zack Greinke threw approximately 38 pitches from a bullpen mound after making seven warm-up tosses today, an important step in his recovery from a stiff right elbow. He threw from the stretch and the windup, mixing in fastballs and all his breaking pitches, and reported no issues.
Greinke said that he “probably threw a little more” pitches than he initially planned. “I felt good. I was working on stuff to get ready for a game.”
However, he didn’t commit to a goal of making his first start of the season on April 2 at home against the San Francisco Giants, as the Dodgers had initially hoped.
“I just want to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “It’s not important what day.”
Greinke received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the elbow Monday and is running out of time if he wants to avoid skipping a start. The Dodgers have the luxury of playing just three games before their first scheduled off-day April 4 and another off-day four days later. So they could rest their $147 million pitcher until the third week of the season without needing an extra starter.