Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Traning Notes - Mattingly, Ethier, Lopes, Kemp

Spring Training Notes -

The Dodgers hit the cages inside since it was raining in Camelback Ranch.

From the Dodgers Press Notes -

Pitchers and catchers hit the cages for their workout this morning as cold temperatures and a sopping wet field forced the troops inside at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The most exciting debut of the afternoon belonged to two-year old Dreson Ethier, who took some hacks at a wiffle ball in the Dodger clubhouse, displaying the trade-mark leg kick of his father and a bit more speed on the bases (which in this instance was a tight circle on the carpet). Alas, the curly-haired toddler showed his wares from the right-side instead of Dad’s left, baffling the peanut gallery, including Ted Lilly, Hong-Chih Kuo, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland. 

Nice to see Dreson having some fun.

Don Mattingly steps to the batters box to check out the stuff of his pitchers. From {linked here}

Don Mattingly is watching them from where he's most comfortable. The batter's box.
Howling winds and occasional rains Saturday moved the bullpen sessions into the covered hitting cages, and Dodgers pitchers were surprised to see their manager grab a fungo and step in to watch what they had from the perspective of a hitter. 

"That's where I can tell how the ball comes out, and I can tell that that pitch can get a guy out or somebody can hit it," said Mattingly. "You get in and can actually see if it's moving late. You watch and say to yourself, 'Why is a guy swinging at that?' You get in there and can see why."

Do we have a picture of this because I don't believe it!

Yes we do. Thanks to Polo!

In other news....

Davey Lopes teaching Matt Kemp how to steal 40 bases. From ESPN L.A./Tony Jackson {linked here}

Davey Lopes, the former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman and baserunning guru the team hired over the winter to be its new first base coach, spent the first 45 minutes or so of Saturday's spring training workout with several of the club's players who are considered stolen-base threats. The fact much of that time was dedicated to one-on-one work with center fielder Matt Kemp was by design.

"I see a lot of things that he is doing," Lopes said. "Some of the stuff he does, or has been doing, takes away from his quickness a little bit. So we're trying to eliminate some body movement and iron out some things and just make him a little smoother."


More Dodgers Press Notes -

Starter Chad Billingsley threw his second bullpen of the spring along with Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Travis Schlichting, Jon Link, Scott Elbert, Luis Vasquez and Javy Guerra. Non-roster hopefuls Ron Mahay, Lance Cormier, Oscar Villarreal, Roman Colon and Jon Huber also took turns on the hill.

This morning, Dodger youngsters John Ely, Dee Gordon, Kenley Jansen and Trayvon Robinson took several high tech head shots for the Major League Baseball Players Association so their likeness can be used in two upcoming video games. The first will be 2K Sports’ “Major League Baseball 2K11” and the second is “MLB The Show 2011” for Sony PlayStation. Over the last few years, each of the Dodgers have had their head scans done for these and other video games. 

Tomorrow is the official reporting day for position players, but several of them have already arrived at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Today, familiar faces Ivan DeJesus and Juan Castro stopped by the clubhouse before an optional work out on the minor league side. 

Big thanks to Joe from the Dodgers for sending these notes.

Steve Henson of Yahoo! has a nice article on Rafael Furcal and how the Dodgers helped him obtain a Fire Truck for the Dominican Republican. {linked here}

His love of firefighting was noticed by Dodgers public relations director Josh Rawitch, who mentioned it to general manager Ned Colletti during Furcal’s contract negotiations after the 2008 season. Colletti included the truck in discussions with Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer. Furcal was torn between signing with the Braves – the team that first signed him in 1996 and for whom he played his first six years in the majors – or returning to the Dodgers.

The fire truck was the ideal perk. It spoke to something close to his heart. And it convinced him the Dodgers cared about him as a person, and about his hometown. The Braves thought they had a deal and were livid when Furcal changed his mind and signed a three-year, $30 million contract with L.A.

I jokingly asked Rawitch if he received commission for this transaction.

"Ha! No commission, just happy to have played a tiny part in it. And really excited that the truck is heading down this week".

Two more links on "Author Night with Mark Langill".

Linda Eav blogged about it. {linked here}

Andres Juarez also has a post. {linked here}