Don Mattingly has openly joked about getting Nick Punto back in camp next week. He didn’t think Team Italy had a long future in the World Baseball Classic. He wasn’t alone.
On a day off for Hanley Ramirez and Ronald Belisario, the other three Dodgers in the WBC — Luis Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez and Punto — were busy pulling off upsets. Italy beat Canada, 14-4, and Mexico stunned the United States 5-2.
Punto went 2 for 4 with a double and scored twice. Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs and Cruz put Mexico up 5-1 with a sacrifice fly off Glen Perkins in the fifth inning. As Ice Cube once said, “it was a good day.”
Unless you’re the U.S., that is. The Americans play the Italians today and momentum is not in their direction. Italy beat Mexico on Thursday and can eliminate the U.S. from advancing to the semifinals with a win.
Some more links for a Saturday:
To acknowledge the obvious: this game didn’t count. It was called after four innings due to heavy rain at Camelback Ranch. We’re just going to pretend these postgame thoughts do count. Try to keep up.
Chris Capuano threw four innings, which was significant because he took a long and winding road to get there. Capuano was scheduled to start the Dodgers’ night game at home against the Cincinnati Reds when the day began. When it appeared that the afternoon game in Scottsdale against the Giants might not be rained out, Capuano made the trip and was penciled in to relieve Ted Lilly.
That didn’t happen; the Dodgers-Giants game was rained out in the second inning with the Dodgers leading 4-0.
Carl Crawford took his first swings against live pitching on Feb. 25, but was shut down four days later. (Subpar Instagram photo by J.P. Hoornstra)
Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford, whose hitting and throwing programs were postponed last Friday, will resume baseball activities tomorrow, manager Don Mattingly said.
Technically that’s one day ahead of schedule. Five days ago Mattingly said that Crawford would be shut down for a week because of nerve irritation in his left arm.
But Crawford has been symptom-free for three days and got the green light to hit off a tee tomorrow.
“He’ll be monitored, though,” Mattingly said. “He’ll be more on a rehab program … the number of swings taken, exactly what he can do. It’ll start there, in the cage. It’ll be controlled.”
If that goes well, Mattingly said that Crawford will be allowed to throw. He had been throwing from up to 90 feet at the time of the setback. Crawford had Tommy John surgery on his left (throwing) elbow last August and has a target of playing by Opening Day, April 1.
“He’s been able to do everything — track balls, stay in shape, running, all the baserunning stuff — everything basically but throw and hit,” Mattingly said. “That’s obviously pretty important stuff, but there are other areas that he’s able to continue to work.”
Shawn Tolleson‘s injury Tuesday appeared to be scarier than it was.
The right-hander, who left the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres after hearing a “pop” in his left knee, said Wednesday that “everything checked out good” in tests.
“It kind of spooked me,” Tolleson said. “I didn’t want to test it or throw another pitch or anything. … Today there’s no swelling, no soreness.”
Tolleson said he felt the pop as he was releasing the ball and extending as he released the pitch to the Padres’ Gregorio Petit. He iced the knee overnight and was walking normally today.
“Today I’m just going to kind of take it easy, play catch, not do a lot else,” he said. “Tomorrow I should be good to go.”
Outside of the news that Matt Kemp will be in center field for the first time this spring, the most interesting tidbits out of the Dodgers’ camp this morning regarded the starting rotation.
Former Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green was in camp and in uniform as a special instructor this weekend. We got his thoughts on a variety of topics Sunday, including Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame, the Dodgers’ new owners, and his playing ambitions.
Green still has playing ambitions — more WBC ambitions than MLB ambitions — but he isn’t pressing the issue. At age 40, he’s content to be a father to his 7- and 10-year-old daughters. I’m saving that story for tomorrow’s editions.
Here’s what else Green had to say:
Javy Guerra gives the Dodgers six players who will be gone for anywhere between eight and 18 days for the World Baseball Classic. That doesn’t mean six minor-leaguers will get called up to take their place.
“What we’ll do,” Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers’ loss to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, “is use the guys who are here for the most part.”
Some exceptions will be made.
Mattingly said he wanted to get a look at Scott Van Slyke at first base. Van Slyke didn’t do much in 54 major league at-bats last season, collecting nine hits and 14 strikeouts. But the manager has been underwhelmed by Dallas McPherson‘s defense at first base (“it’s not been great for me” were Mattingly’s exact words) and might be looking for a new emergency first baseman if Adrian Gonzalez gets injured. Word is that Van Slyke has slimmed down since last season.
Van Slyke was in the Dodgers’ major-league camp a year ago but was removed from the 40-man roster in December.
When Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Dodgers last August, no one could have known what that would mean for reliever Javy Guerra.
Gonzalez asked Guerra if he would join Team Mexico on Saturday after reliever David Hernandez was ruled ineligible and switched teams, from Mexico to the United States. Guerra readily accepted after getting permission from Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
It’s something he might not have been able to do without Gonzalez, the team captain for Mexico.
Dodgers fans who have grown weary of the lack of televised spring training games can turn to their computer for help.
The team announced eight spring training home games will be broadcast on www.dodgers.com, beginning with Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. The other “webcasts” are March 6 (Mexico National Team), March 8 (Cincinnati), March 9 (Seattle), March 14 (Chicago Cubs), March 15 (Kansas City), March 19 (Oakland) and March 22 (Cincinnati).
Broadcasters for the game have yet to be announced, but a team spokesperson said that a “rotation” of different voices can be expected.
Nine other spring training games are scheduled to be televised (three on Prime Ticket, four on KCAL, two on MLB Network) in addition to four tape-delayed games on MLB Network.
Fox Sports West showed the career stats of former Cubs and Rays pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu during today’s telecast of the Dodgers-Angels game.
For a pitcher who speaks very little English, and has thrown three spring training innings in his major-league career, Hyun-Jin Ryu has revealed a lot about who he is as a pitcher in a short time.
Ryu started and threw two innings against the Angels on Friday, allowing four hits, two runs (both earned), walking one and striking out three. As is usually the case in spring training, the numbers didn’t really tell the story.