February 2010

Dodgers Practice Shortened by Weather

Heavy rains and flooded fields forced the Dodgers to cut back on their practice Sunday. Pitchers played catch and hitters took batting practice in the covered cages, but the ballfields were off-limits until Monday.

In addition, about 30 players took part in a 45-minute abdominal and lower back yoga session with local instructor Katherine Roberts.

Manager Joe Torre said Monday will mark the beginning of a situational hitting drill in which four teams of batters will hold a week-long competition, conducted by hitting coaches Don Mattingly and Jeff Pentland. — Ken Gurnick

Sherrill Careful With Both Knees

Dodgers reliever George Sherrill hasn’t missed any workouts, but he’s icing both knees daily after some offseason workouts went awry. As Sherrill tells it, extra stretching he did on his own resulted in tight quad muscles that have put added strain on both knees.

The Dodgers training staff is now working to loosen his quad muscles so he can regain the flexibility needed. Sherrill said he hasn’t missed a throwing day.

Sherrill is expected to be the primary set-up man for closer Jonathan Broxton. — Ken Gurnick

Weaver a Father


Jeff Weaver became a father for the first time Wednesday with the birth of Drake, which Weaver admitted brought tears to his eyes.


“You try to keep it together, but when it finally goes down, everything is overwhelming,” he said.


Weaver missed three days of practice and estimated he got five hours of sleep in three days. His parents came to the Phoenix area from Southern California and were joined by Angels pitcher and brother Jared for the birth. — Ken Gurnick

DeWitt Watched at Second Base

Blake DeWitt gets the first look at second base for the Dodgers, and manager Joe Torre said infield coach Larry Bowa has been impressed with DeWitt’s improved footwork around the bag.


DeWitt spent several sessions over the winter working with Matt Martin, the Dodgers’ Minor League infield instructor.


DeWitt is a natural third baseman trying to make the transition to second base fulltime and replace All-Star Orlando Hudson. If not Blake, the Dodgers have Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll, or could create a platoon among the trio. Torre said DeWitt is getting the initial action at second base because the staff wants to see how much he has improved and are already familiar with the second-base play of Belliard and Carroll. — Ken Gurnick

Manny Being Manny on Taiwan Plans

The Dodgers will soon announce their travel roster for next month’s goodwill trip to Taiwan and Manny Ramirez won’t be on it.

But he could be on the trip. He’s told club officials he’s thinking about going. He’s also told club officials he’s thinking about not going. Club officials don’t know what to think.

Manager Joe Torre said he wouldn’t discourage Ramirez — or any of his regular players — from going.

Early commitments have been received from James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard, Eric Stults and native Taiwanese Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Turn Out for Autograph Signing

Fans in the Phoenix area have a chance to load up on Dodgers autographs Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Russell Martin, James McDonald, Clayton Kershaw, Cory Wade, Blake DeWitt, Brent Leach, Trayvon Robinson and Kenley Jansen are scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for the Ahwatukee Little League at 4700 East Warner Road in Phoenix.  Autographs are available for a $5 donation. The event was organized by Dodgers assistant general managers Logan White and De Jon Watson, whose sons, Logan Jr. and Michael, play at Ahwatukee. — Ken Gurnick

Repko Hopes for Shot

Jason Repko said he spoke to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti after the signing of free-agent fourth outfielder Reed Johnson to see where he stood in the organization.

“I can read the writing on the wall, but I have to stay as positive as I can, play hard and stay healthy to prove that I can help a team,” said Repko. “I know that basically I’m insurance.”

Johnson will replace Juan Pierre as the fourth outfielder and the Dodgers are likely to carry only four outfielders with the abundance of infielders on the roster. Prior to Johnson’s signing, Repko and Xavier Paul appeared to be the candidates for fourth outfielder.

“When I saw Pierre get moved, I got a little excited because I finally had an opportunity to fight for a job,” Repko said. “With Reed and (Brian) Giles, they’re doing everything they can to improve the team, but there’s really no opportunity for me the way I look at it. — Ken Gurnick

Stults Starts ‘B’ Game Tuesday

Eric Stults, a candidate for the fifth-starter job who is out of options, will start for the Dodgers against the White Sox in a seven-inning “B” game Tuesday. Also scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers are Travis Schlichting, Brent Leach, Carlos Monasterios, Armando Zerpa, Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen. Monasterios and Zerpa are Rule 5 picks who likely will be lost if they don’t make the Opening Day roster. — Ken Gurnick

Amezaga Healing Slowly

Alfredo Amezaga, signed as a free agent, will not play any games this Spring as he heals slowly from microfracture surgery on his left knee. The utilityman had played no fewer than 125 games each of the previous three seasons in Florida but was limited to only 27 games last year before the surgery. — Ken Gurnick


Kuroda Feeling Better This Spring

Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter last year, said he feels better this Spring than last Spring, even though the herniated disk in his neck isn’t completely healed.

Kuroda said his shoulder was tender at the start of Spring Training last year, but he said it feels fine this year. Kuroda said he was very pleased with his bullpen session Thursday.

He is entering the final year of a three-year contract and coming off a season in which he was limited to 20 starts because of three injuries. He said he believes the disk injury was the result of whiplash from being hit on the head by a line drive last Aug. 15 in Arizona.– Ken Gurnick