Monday, March 5, 2012

3/5/12 Spring Training Notes - Opening Day!

It's Spring Training Opening Day!

Great notes from the Dodgers PR Staff -

Monday, March 5, 2012 – 12:05 p.m., Camelback Ranch – Glendale. No TV. Radio only (570am)

Dodgers vs White Sox

RHP Chad Billingsley vs. RHP Philip Humber

Spring Game 1/Road Game 1

IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL: The Dodgers open up their 34-game exhibition schedule as the designated visiting team against the White Sox this afternoon at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The two clubs will meet for the fourth time in five seasons during Interleague Play in 2012 with the White Sox visiting Dodger Stadium from June 15-17. Los Angeles will play 31 Cactus League contests before finishing up the spring slate with three games against the Angels; in Anaheim on April 2 and two at Dodger Stadium on April 3 and 4.

BILLS ON THE HILL: Chad Billingsley will make his first start of the Cactus League season as he prepares for his seventh big league season after going 11-11 with a 4.21 ERA in 32 starts last year. The 27-year-old is one of only three National League pitchers to have won 10 or more games in each of the past five seasons, joining teammate Ted Lilly and Cole Hamels, and also ranks sixth on the Senior Circuit with 703 strikeouts since the start of the 2008 season. Billingsley will be followed to the mound today by RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Fernando Nieve, LHP Wilfredo Ledezma, RHP Angel Guzman, RHP Ryan Tucker and LHP Scott Rice.

IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP: With the exception of Adam Kennedy at third base, today’s Dodger starting lineup looks very similar to what Don Mattingly is expected to pencil in on Opening Day one month from today in San Diego. Shortstop Dee Gordon will start things off for the Dodger nine this afternoon and ranked fourth in the Majors last season (min. 200 AB) with a .315 batting average as a leadoff hitter (63-for-200). Last season, the 23-year-old became the first-ever Dodger shortstop to be selected to the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team and was also recognized as the Gillette presents National League Rookie of the Month in September, batting .372 with a league-leading 42 hits in 26 games. Overall, Gordon had the second-highest batting average among Major League rookies (min. 200 AB) with a .304 mark and tied for second among rookies with 24 steals in 56 games with the Dodgers last season.

BIG MAC: The Dodgers would like to wish right-handed reliever Mike MacDougal a happy 35th birthday today! MacDougal re-signed with the club as a free agent this past offseason after ranking second on the team with 57.0 innings pitched as a reliever and a career-high 69 appearances in 2011. The 11-year Major League veteran ranked seventh among National League relievers (min. 50.0 IP) with a 2.05 ERA while going 3-1 with one save last season in his first season with Los Angeles.

IN JUST 31 SHORT DAYS: The Dodgers will open the 2012 Championship Season one month from today at 4:05 p.m. against the Padres at San Diego’s PETCO Park. Clayton Kershaw will be on the hill for his second consecutive Opening Day start and will become the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to make an Opening Day start for Los Angeles since Sandy Koufax in 1964. He will be the first Dodger to make consecutive starts in a season opener since Derek Lowe from 2005-07. Kershaw, who turns 24 on March 19, had his first tuneup of the spring yesterday, striking out five of the seven batters he faced and allowing just one hit over 25 pitches, and will make his first official Cactus League start on March 9 against the Rangers in Surprise.

MAJORING IN THE MINORS: Dodger minor league pitchers and catchers have their first workout today with all other minor leaguers reporting on Friday. The first full-squad workout takes place on March 11. The farmhands will hope to repeat their success from last season, when six of the Dodgers’ seven minor league affiliates ended the season with winning records and the teams’ cumulative .543 winning percentage (414-349) was the second highest among Major League clubs behind only Texas’ .565 mark (431-332). In addition, four of the seven clubs reached the postseason with the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers winning the Arizona Summer League championship.

TROLLEY DODGERS: New for 2012, fans can ride a free trolley from the Westgate City Center to all Dodgers and White Sox games at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The trolley stop is located on Westgate Boulevard right across from Yard House and drops off outside the ballpark. The trolley runs every 40 minutes starting at 11:00 a.m. with continuous service throughout and after the game.

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