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Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Training Report-1

Hello all! Happy St. Pattys Day! spring training marches on and the Dodgers used three homeruns and little bit of the luck of the irish to beat the Dbacks today 6-4. This improves their Spring record to 7-15.

there is alot of news to catch up on, over the last couple of weeks, so lets get right to it.

first off there are several Dodgers who are hurt or banged up, they are as follows-

Garlands Oblique-Jon Garland strained his oblique muscle over a week ago. the doctors say while it is not serious, it will still take anywhere between 4-6 weeks to fully heal as most normally take this time length. Garland most likly will begin the season on the DL, but the Dodgers expect him to be ready by mid april. Vicente Padilla is still recovering from his surgery to repair a nerve in his pitching forearm. the team doctors have given padilla a return time of around may 1st, however Padilla always seems to recover from injuries alot quicker than most pitchers do and has reported feeling much better saying he has a new arm and is already throwing non-mound sessions. it is possible he could return before may 1st. The Dodgers will likly go with 11 pitchers to start the season. the Dodgers dont need a 5th starter until april 12.

Casey Blake's back/ribs-you mean to tell me that the Dodgers 37 year old third baseman in decline hurt his back again and cant play? shocking right? this time blake hurt his back/ribs trying to beat out a bunt after Donnie baseball ordered him to one game for some stupid reason. member how we all laughed when Mattingly announced he wanted Blake to hit second because of his ability to bunt? well were not laughing anymore are we? Can we please not have our 37 year old crotchety third baseman with a history of back spasms trying to leg out bunts? thank you Donnie!

the Dodgers made several large groups of cuts this week starting on monday. the Dodgers sent the following players down to the Minor league camps.....Carlos Monasterios, Javy Guerra, Trayvon Robinson, Dee Gordon, Jon Link, Russ Mitchell, John Lindsey, Justin Sellers, and Dodger Rookie Phenom Jerry Sands. the Roster has now been trimmed down to 44 players.

check out MSTI-  with several interesting pieces. One piece is on Non-Roster Invitee Aaron Miles, who is impressing everyone this spring and with several conditions possibly falling into place could not only make the team but could be the starting second baseman.

and a very interesting piece on the great spring of Tony Gwynn Jr. and how he could possibly be the solution to many of the Dodgers problems in the outfield.

speaking of Miles, he is one of four players fighting for the last bench spot. MSTI has another interesting piece on another non roster guy having a terrific spring-Hector Gimenez. Ill get to him in a second.

lets talk about the four guys all battling for the last bench spot. My pick would be Gimenez and I will explain why.

1.-Aaron Miles-plays all infield positions-bats both
Miles has had a very good spring, hitting .333 with 2 home runs in 24 AB. normally Miles has always been mediocre, but according to an article from Tony Jackson Miles early spring success could be due to corrective laser eye surgery. Miles has said that hes seeing the ball better than ever. check out MSTI for more details about Miles journey to make the roster.

2.-Ivan Dejesus Jr.-2b primarily-bats right
I doubt Dejesus would make the roster, I think he has a slim chance, however he is still around, he hasnt impressed anyone this spring batting .269 with 7 hits in 26 AB. the problem is he can only play second base, still you never know, I think he needs more seasoning.

3.-Juan Castro-plays all infield positions-bats right-UGHHHHH
yep its Castro alright. the very same ageless bum that has been useless at the plate for his entire 17 year career. I still dont know why the Dodgers are so fascinated with him. maybe because they know him well.  I originally thought that made him nearly a lock to make the team. however with each hit from Miles, or run driven in from Gimenez should make the Dodgers forget all about this bum.

4.-Hector Gimenez-plays Catcher/first base/third base-bats left.
Gimenez would be my choice. hes my darkhorse to grab the last spot. MSTI has a nice little write up about him too. he is another non roster guy.
Gimenez is 28 years old from Venezuela. originally drafted and signed by the Astros in 1999. Gimenez had only two plate appearances in the majors in 2006 for the astros before being sent back down. he suffered through injuries in 2007 and ended up in the Pirates organization. last year he played in AA ball for the pirates and batted .305 with 16 homers and 72 RBI. Gimenez naturally a third baseman, converted to catcher, and also learned to play first base. I really like this guy especially after seeing him play this week. he bats lefty plays first base and can be an emergency third catcher. he can also play third base if needed.

I know Gimenez is not a middle infielder but Im not sure how much the Dodgers really really need another middle infielder. after all if Blake's injury keeps him out longer than we think it will, then Uribe would slide over to third, and Carroll can play second. or Miles if it is him who makes the roster. however Ive been impressed with Gimenez hes had a good spring hitting .333 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBI. I like his power, good bat control, and versatility. the fact he can catch and play first gives him alot of flexibility. Im rooting for him, but I still wouldnt be suprised if the completly incompetent Castro is on the bench wasting a roster spot.

this leaves us with a few questions. with gwynn playing so well and looking very likly to make the team and even start, and with Thames hitting well, is Gibbons still a lock to make the team?
Gibbons has had an attrocious spring battling the Flu and problems with his vision. however its reported that he has since corrected his vision issues and says he is ready to play. could he be the odd man out in the outfield?

This leaves us with another question. what do the Dodgers do with Xavier Paul? the young promising serviceable outfielder who played admirably last year being called up several times because of injuries, is out of options. I would really hate to see the Dodgers lose Paul. it looks like with the garland/padilla/blake injuries could open up a roster spot temporarily and give Paul a stay of execution so to speak. although I think eventually Xman will have to be put on waivers to make room.

during the Game the Dodgers wore these hallacious green jerseys in honor of St. Pattys day. (remember former owner walter O'Malley was irish. yeah he was! no joke!) I wont post a pic, trust me you dont want to see these Unis. I can compare them to the ugly derwienersnitchell astro unis from the 80's and the Padres putrid camo jerseys they wear from time to time.

Billingsly got the start against righty Aaron Heilman. Bills while not being dominant still pitched well allowing 3 runs on 4 hits through 5 innings. walking only 1 and 4K. Heilman also pitched well allowing only a two run home run to Matt Kemp through 6. the former reliever left with the lead 3-2.

Broxton entered in the 6th to pitch a scoreless inning further pissing off the "we hate broxton V-energy" naysayers. Brox recorded his first two strikeouts of the spring as well.

Kuo also pitched a perfect inning in relief and despite Kemp misplaying a ball allowing a leg triple and a run to score, Guerrier kept it close in the 7th.

down 4-2 in the 8th, the Dodgers for the second straight day came from behind to win. the rally started with an Aaron Miles single, and a hit and run single by none other than automatic out extroidonair Juan Castro. with runners at the corners, my man Hector Gimenez slugged a three run shot inside the left field foul pole to give the dodgers the lead 5-4. for good measure fellow non roster guy Gabe Kapler added a solo shot. 6-4 Dodgers!

then it got a bit interesting in the 9th. Mike Macdougal another non roster guy, you know the former 20 save guy from the royals thats had a history of control problems, who has happened to have a strong spring.  well Macdougal in grand Mike Macdougal fashion managed to get the save before scaring us all with another one of his trademark walkapaloozas. or as scared as we can be knowing full well it is only a spring game.
his inning went a little something like this.-WALK-GROUND BALL-WALK-HBP-bases loaded-LINEOUT TO SHORT-DOUBLE PLAY AT SECOND.   phew!!!! dodgers hold on to win 6-4.

next televised game is on saturday against the brewers, and Vinny will be calling the game. the boys in blue will be back in their normal unis. opening day is only two weeks away. two more weeks until we hear those beautiful words we love to hear every year.....ITS TIIIIIIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!!!
we will keep you posted on all spring training news and scores! happy St. Pattys day all!

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