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.
Hanley Ramirez reached base in both of his plate appearances Saturday against the Seattle Mariners. He is batting .357 this spring and his play at shortstop hasn’t offered the Dodgers any reason to be worried about his defense.
On Sunday, he’ll leave for San Juan, Puerto Rico to prepare for the World Baseball Classic with his Domincan Republic teammates. Minutes after being pulled from Saturday’s game, Ramirez didn’t sound like a man who was ready to hop on a plane and leave camp.
“I was looking forward to getting to spring” training, he said. “This here is the main thing. The WBC is going to be different when we get there. Right now, I’m just concentrating on this team. There’s too many pieces here.”
Dodgers right-hander Javy Guerra told the team on Saturday that he plans on playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Once he’s added to the roster Guerra would join Dodgers teammates Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez on the Mexican team. Cruz and Gonzalez are set to leave the Dodgers to begin training for the WBC tomorrow.
A curious chain reaction left an opening for a pitcher on Team Mexico. After Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez left Team USA due to injury, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez switched from Team Mexico to the United States squad, having been ruled ineligible to pitch for Mexico.
Further, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo was scratched from a spring start with a strained groin, potentially leaving Mexico without one of its best starters for the tournament.
Guerra will pitch his regularly scheduled inning tomorrow for the Dodgers against the Cleveland Indians according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who first reported the news.
Guerra was born in Texas, the son of Mexican parents. He has never pitched in the World Baseball Classic before.
Luis Cruz is one of five Dodgers competing in the WBC. Keith Birmingham/Staff Photographer
Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz will leave camp tomorrow to train with Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. So will first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Hanley Ramirez is leading off for the Dodgers today against the Seattle Mariners and tomorrow he’ll be wearing the uniform of the Dominican Republic. Today, Ronald Belisario is a middle reliever; tomorrow he becomes a closer for Venezuela. Nick Punto will be wearing the colors of Team Italy.
The Dodgers’ five World Baseball Classic participants might be gone for eight days. They might not be back for another 18. It’s a weird time to stage a major international baseball tournament with major-league players, but that’s another topic for another day: It’s here and Cruz has been gearing up for the moment for a while.
If you were at Dodger Stadium last July 14, this memory was probably burned in your hippocampus:
Five Dodgers will be represented in the World Baseball Classic, according to final rosters announced Thursday.
Ronald Belisario (Venezuela), Luis Cruz (Mexico), Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico), Nick Punto (Italy) and Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic) will all leave the team in March to compete in the third edition of the tournament, which will crown its champion March 19 in San Francisco.
Paco Rodriguez (Spain), Peter Moylan (Australia) and Alfredo Amezaga (Mexico) were listed on their respective country’s preliminary rosters but elected not to participate.
That photo won’t make the Bad Spring Training TwitPics hall of shame, but that’s only because I didn’t post it on Twitter. It was the sight greeting everyone at Camelback Ranch on the first day of spring training Tuesday morning.
Tuesday was an inherently eventful day, typically droll as spring training days go but more exciting than the last four and a half months of no baseball. I posted the blow-by-blow on my Twitter account, which you can follow here if you’re not doing so already. The question of what the Dodgers will do with their eight starting pitchers dominated the dialogue. You can read all about that here.
Today marks the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. Manager Don Mattingly was in rare form, using humor to deflect questions about his expiring contract. Comparing himself to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of former Oakland manger Art Howe on a one-year contract with the Moneyball A’s, he told reporters at Camelback Ranch, “I’m built better than that guy.”
There’s no contest, really (see here and here). Onto some heavier material, because we can’t get much lighter …
We think this is an attempt to sculpt Hanley Ramirez’s “I see you” pose. This is the first bobblehead that will be given away at a Dodgers game this season, on April 30 against the Colorado Rockies.
This image was released by the Dodgers on the same day it was announced that Ramirez will play for Leones del Escogido, a team based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean Series, the annual championship of the four winter leagues. Ramirez played for the D.R.-based Licey Tigers during the Dominican Winter League’s regular season. The series will be played in Hermosillo, Mexico from Feb. 1-7.
Ramirez also played in the 2006 Caribbean Series for the eventual champion, Valencia & Maracay.
The next two months will be busy for Ramirez. Dodgers position players report to spring training on Feb. 15. He’s then expected to play in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic, whose first game is March 7. While the Dodgers hope that this will help Ramirez hone his defense at shortstop, he must also guard against fatigue during the 162-game regular season that follows.
It’s something to keep an eye on, as Bobble-Hanley demonstrates above.
Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto was born in San Diego, raised in Orange County, graduated from Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo. But he’s playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic in March.