Two blockbuster trades that seemed inevitable a week ago became official Thursday after an issue with Matt Kemp’s physical caused an awkward delay.
That memory was rekindled when the Dodgers announced the list of participants for Saturday’s “old-timer’s game,” which will be played at Dodger Stadium after the 1 p.m. game between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
Admission to the game is free with a ticket to the Dodgers-Giants game. Introductions will be followed by a two-inning game. The full list of participants:
Team 1 (will wear Dodger home jerseys)
Dusty Baker OF
Tim Wallach 3B
Mickey Hatcher SS/OF
Steve Sax 2B
Mike Marshall 1B
Reggie Smith OF/1B
Steve Yeager C
Raul Mondesi OF
Davey Lopes 2B
Darryl Strawberry 1B/OF
Ron Cey 3B
Eric Gagné P
Fernando Valenzuela P
Team 2 (will wear Dodger alternate road jerseys)
Shawn Green OF
Derrel Thomas 2B/C
Bill Russell SS
Ken Landreaux OF
Eric Karros 1B
Rick Monday OF
Nomar Garciaparra 3B
Maury Wills SS
Steve Finley OF
Orel Hershiser P
Rick Honeycutt P
This is a rough map of all the Mexican restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga.
Julio Urias is waiting.
On March 15, after he pitched a scoreless inning against the San Diego Padres — something Brian Wilson couldn’t do last night — Urias still didn’t know where he would begin the regular season. At least the Dodgers’ prized pitching prospect had no trouble identifying the hardest part of being uprooted to the United States at 16.
“It wasn’t really hard except for the food,” he said in Spanish. “The food was probably the hardest part for me.”
Fortunately for Urias, now 17, there are many options in the neighborhood of the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate in the California League.
In case you’re counting at home, that’s four of the club’s top 10 prospects (per MLB.com) playing in one spot, about an hour east of Los Angeles.
Urias, Anderson and Windle all finished last season with Class-A Great Lakes, and each saw action in one Cactus League game. The Dodgers drafted Anderson and Windle in the first and second rounds of the 2013 draft, respectively, out of college. Urias was signed as a free agent out of Culiacan, Mexico.
The 22-year-old pitcher only reached Double-A last year, three years after the Dodgers selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft. Only a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle suffered early in camp forced Lee to temper his expectations.
By waiting until Friday to make his Cactus League debut, Lee knows he’s ticketed to the minors to start the season.
“Anytime you set a goal you want to set it high,” he said. “If you set it too low, you’ll probably meet it and get content with it.”
Lee pitched two scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday at Camelback Ranch. He allowed only two hits, walked none and had something to be proud of at the end of his long-awaited debut.
The right-hander from McKinney, Texas survived a loud leadoff double to Shin-Soo Choo — “a 2-1 fastball right down the middle that you don’t want to throw,” he said — to survive a 21-pitch first inning on consecutive ground-ball outs by Elvin Andrus, Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre.
After a smooth second inning in which he allowed a single to Jurickson Profar, Lee’s day was over. He faced eight hitters, almost all major leaguers, and did not look out of place on the mound.
“He just looks like he belongs around the clubhouse, around the fields. He does everything well,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s got a clean delivery. We feel like he’s going to be able to throw the ball where he wants. Just like in his composure — pretty much everything about him.”
Lee has a preternatural calm in the presence of almost anyone — reporter, major leaguer, minor leaguer. He said he’s tried to stay in the background like most rookies, while also trying to pick the veterans’ brains.
“I’ve talked a lot with (Josh) Beckett and (Zack) Greinke,” he said. “Probably Greinke a little more than Beckett from a baseball standpoint just because me and his game are kind of similar as far as our repertoire goes, how we pitch. It’s always good to get an outside perspective, especially with a guy who’s had the success he’s had and kind of the similar stuff we have and how we approach the game.”
Both pitchers share an analytical approach to baseball, something that impressed Dodgers management about Lee since his first days in the organization. Lee’s numbers in his second season at Double-A Chattanooga were better in almost every category in 2013, when he was named the organization’s pitcher of the year.
Lee took part in the Dodgers’ prospect camp at Dodger Stadium in January. Finally on Friday, he had a chance to show everyone what he’s gained since last season.
“Growing up, the way I looked at pitching, I was more of a cerebral, analytical person,” he said. “I really thought more kind of gameplanning and what (Greg) Maddux did back in the day, where he was able to pinpoint location rather than overpowering people. I kind of took after them and that’s where my game’s developed.”
Young power pitchers are often the first to reach the majors. The St. Louis Cardinals’ Shelby Miller, a 2012 draft pick who beat the Dodgers twice in last year’s National League Championship Series, is a protypical example.
Pitchers like Lee, who mix and match an assortment of pitches and rely more on location and guile, often take longer. This season marks his fourth in the organization and only his first major-league camp.
Lee said he threw all his pitches Friday and “some worked better than others.” For Mattingly, the first impression was a good one.
“I think that’s what you like about him: You see him around the clubhouse, the way he handles himself, gets after his work, does everything pretty well, takes fielding his position seriously, holding runners — all the things you don’t get a lot of attention for — but we like everything about him.”
Some more notes and observations:
Darnell Sweeney‘s two-run single highlighted a 4-0 win for a team of Dodgers prospects Sunday over Yaquis de Obregon, a Mexican Pacific League squad, at the “Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta” in Tucson.
Left-hander Chris Anderson, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft, started and pitched 1 ⅔ innings, allowing no hits, no walks, and striking out two.
Tom Windle, the Dodgers’ second-round pick in June, allowed no hits over the next 1 ⅓ innings.
Some highlights of the game (announced in Spanish) can be seen here.