Daily Distractions: The market has been set for J.P. Howell, but will the Dodgers go along?

J.P. Howell

Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell went 4-1 with a 2.18 earned-run average in 67 games for the Dodgers in 2013. (Getty Images)

For a left-handed set-up man like J.P. Howell the market has pretty much been set. Right?

Javier Lopez got three years and $13 million from the San Francisco Giants.

On Friday, Boone Logan got three years and $16.5 million from the Colorado Rockies.

Howell was just a nudge better than those two in 2013 while doing essentially the same task, retiring left-handed batters in close games before the ninth inning. He’s 30; Logan is 29 and Lopez is 36. If the market trend continues, Howell can probably make a good case to earn a little more money than Logan. Say, three years and $18 million.

The Dodgers don’t necessarily see it that way.

They have one left-handed specialist in Paco Rodriguez. Another, Scott Elbert, could be ready to join the team at midseason. Right-hander Carlos Marmol has had good historical success against lefties as well, though the Dodgers haven’t had much communication with him since the off-season began.

Would they like Howell back? Sure. They’ve been more talkative with Howell’s camp than perhaps any left-handed reliever to this point. But general manager Ned Colletti suggested Saturday he isn’t as desperate for help in that area as the Giants and Rockies were when they signed Lopez and Logan, respectively.

“You have to make the right decisions despite sometimes what other teams were doing,” Colletti said, speaking generally about the market for left-handed relievers. “Some teams do it because they don’t have anybody else. It’s something done out of desperation. I get that. We’ve had to do it too from time to time. But (Howell) is another guy we’ve had a lot of conversations with. We’re still trying to get him signed.

“Whether we do or not, we’ll always figure it out. We might not figure it out on Dec. 14.”

After reportedly signing Juan Uribe on Saturday, bolstering the bullpen is Colletti’s top task. The market seems to be pointing in one direction for Howell, but the Dodgers might ultimately decide to go a different direction.

Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
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Daily Distractions: The Arizona Diamondbacks’ general manager took offense to the Dodgers eating bananas.

Mark McGwire brawl

The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks brawled at Dodger Stadium in June, but pitcher Ian Kennedy wasn’t around to brush anyone back in September. By then, he had been traded to San Diego. (Getty Images)

Sports-talk radio is a breeding ground for talk of tribalism, vengeance and all those crude things that come from bitter rivalries. Such talk just usually doesn’t come from the mouth of a Major League Baseball general manager.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Kevin Towers waded into those waters Tuesday. Pun intended. And it had nothing to do with the Dodgers’ celebration in the Chase Field swimming pool after they clinched a playoff berth on Sept. 19.

Towers took great offense to the Dodgers’ celebration on Sept. 9, when Juan Uribe went 4 for 4 with three home runs in an 8-1 Dodgers win . From arizonasports.com:

“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,” Towers told Arizona Sports 620′s Burns and Gambo Tuesday. “Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.

“That’s not who we are as Diamondbacks, that’s not how — I mean, it’s a reflection on Gibby, on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around and we took it.”

Towers said that has to stop, and following the game he had “a few choice words for the (coaching) staff.”

Nothing changed.

“You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently,” he said. “Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.’ Not that I don’t take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy’s getting hit, it’s an eye for an eye, somebody’s going down or somebody’s going to get jackknifed.”

After the season, the Diamondbacks dismissed pitching coach Charles Nagy and first-base coach Steve Sax.

No word yet on whether Towers made those moves before or after researching this stat:

 

Some bullet points for a World Post Day:

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Daily Distractions: National League Division Series Game 3 start times announced.

Dodgers workout

The Dodgers work out Wednesday at Turner Field. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff photographer)


The Dodgers will host the Atlanta Braves at 5:07 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday in Game 3, as Major League Baseball updated the start times for both National League Division Series on Thursday. Game 4 start times haven’t been announced yet.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will play earlier in the day Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:37 p.m. Pacific Time.

The league seems to be announcing start times roughly 72 hours in advance of each game. Start times for Game 1 today and Friday’s Game 2 were revealed on Monday. Odds are that the start time for Game 4 will be revealed some time tomorrow.

Onto the bullet points:
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Vin Scully will open and close the Dodgers’ playoff broadcasts on the radio.

While the national networks handle television duties for the Dodgers’ first-round playoff series, Vin Scully will start — and close — for the Dodgers on the radio.

Scully will call the first three innings and the final three innings of each Dodger postseason game on 570-AM, the Dodgers announced Monday. Charley Steiner and Rick Monday will call the middle three innings.

TBS, and possibly the MLB Network, will televise the Dodgers’ first-round games. All National League Championship Series games will be on TBS while all World Series games will air on Fox, should the Dodgers make it that far. Click here for the complete postseason TV schedule.

The Dodgers’ Spanish-language radio broadcast on Univision America KTNQ 1020 AM will be led by Jaime Jarrín, who is in his 55th season with the Dodgers. Fernando Valenzuela, color commentator for all home games and select road games for the Dodgers’ Spanish radio broadcast, will call all postseason games along with Pepe Yñiguez. Valenzuela has been a part of the Dodgers’ Spanish-language broadcast team for 11 seasons and Yñiguez is in his 16th season with the club.

Scully is in his 64th season with the club.

Daily Distractions: When baseball imitates reality television (accidentally or otherwise).

Kenley Jansen

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen jumps into the Chase Field pool after Thursday’s win. (Associated Press photo)

Sports is the original reality television. Nothing like a little drama to spice it up, right?

Forget “Poolgate.” Call the controversy over the Dodgers’ postgame celebration “The Real World: Phoenix” (and hope MTV doesn’t keep a copyright attorney on retainer).

Apparently, prior to the series, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked the Dodgers to confine their clinching celebration to the visitors’ clubhouse. They even stationed some security guards on the field Thursday to make sure the Dodgers didn’t do anything crazy:

As it always does, human nature set in. When someone is ordered not to do something, he finds his best way around it. Ever pull into the carpool lane while stuck in traffic and driving alone? Ever sneak a peak at your phone at a red light, look for a cop, then quickly put the phone away? (There was a case of crude rebellion on Project Runway last night. Ah, reality TV — the reality is, I was ironing before you got into the room!)

The Dodgers ran across the field and into the pool.

The incident has spawned some lengthy prose about celebrations and their place in baseball.

Even Arizona senator John McCain chimed in today:

Again, this wasn’t about a celebration.

Hall, now the Diamondbacks’ president, is the Dodgers’ former director of public relations. He may have discretely asked the Dodgers not to go back onto the field to celebrate, but then how did Scully find out and mention this on the broadcast? That got the fans involved, too. Pretty brilliant way to incite a rivalry, accidentally or otherwise.

Seeing the drama go viral, it’s not hard to imagine Hall sipping on some champagne himself this morning.

Some bullet points to get you through the weekend:
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Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully to appear in Cooperstown on August 2, 2014 for Hall of Fame’s anniversary.

Vin Scully

85-year-old Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully is returning to Cooperstown in 2014.

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has joined the lineup of special guests for the Aug. 2, 2014 celebration concert to honor the 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum.

Scully will record the introduction and opening segment of the concert that will include the world renowned Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, which will serve as the “house band” for the 75th Anniversary Concert.

“The Hall of Fame is the cathedral of baseball, and it is an honor to be a part of the 75th Anniversary Concert in Cooperstown,” Scully said in a statement. “This memorable event will be a fitting celebration of the National Pastime and the Museum that preserves the legacy of the game.”

Scully will return to the booth for his 65th season with the Dodgers in 2014. The 1982 Hall of Fame inductee turns 86 in November.

Daily Distractions: Onelki Garcia makes history, doesn’t throw his glove.

Onelki Garcia

MLB.com’s Gameday view of Adam Eaton’s at-bat against Onelki Garcia.

Dodgers pitcher Onelki Garcia walked Adam Eaton in his major-league debut last night and didn’t waste time: He threw four pitches out of the strike zone before Don Mattingly summoned Peter Moylan from the bullpen.

A couple things happened next:

… and those of us in the press box started reaching for the history books:

If Garcia never appears in another major-league game, he’ll be the only pitcher to walk the only batter he faced, let alone on four pitches. At least Garcia avoided the fate of Larry Yount, Robin’s brother and a Woodland Hills native, who was injured while warming up for his only major-league game in 1971 and never faced a batter again.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he intended for Garcia to face only Eaton, then insert Moylan to face right-handed hitter A.J. Pollock. He didn’t bother to mention this to Garcia. “Maybe I should’ve told him,” Mattingly said after the game.

But it sounds like Garcia will get another chance. Both J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez were unavailable last night, and that might be the case again between now and the season finale on Sept. 28.

“That’s what we envision — him getting a lefty,” Mattingly said. “I think he’ll be fine.”

Garcia copped to some nerves after the game, “like a lot of players do the first time,” he said through an interpreter.

“It can’t be an easy situation, stepping in for the first time,” catcher A.J. Ellis said.

There will be a next time, or there will be a new one for the record books.

Some bullet points on the 10th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death:
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Daily Distractions: This scavenger hunt is a suite deal for fans.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson with Rachel Robinson on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Getty Images

Want to meet Magic Johnson?

Sorry — to #MeetMagic?

The Dodgers are hosting a scavenger hunt to give seven fans a chance to meet the Dodgers’ co-owner and receive two suite tickets to his sold-out Bobblehead Night game Sept. 12 against the San Francisco Giants.

The rules: Beginning at 2 p.m. today, and around the same time each of the next six days, @Dodgers will tweet a clue related to the specific location of a Magic Johnson bobblehead with hashtag #MeetMagic. You need to travel to the location of the Bobblehead, find the Dodger Blue Crew member with the Bobblehead, and correctly answer a trivia question. The bobbleheads are going to be placed at “several iconic Southern California locations.” That’s all we know.

You can only win one pair of tickets, which are valued at $1,000. Some more rules can be found here.

Some bullet points for a Rosh Hashana:
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