Dodgers sign Tim Redding

Right-hander Tim Redding, who turns 33 in February, a journeyman who last pitched in the majors with the New York Mets in 2009 signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and has been invited to spring training.

The Dodgers made a similar deal earlier with Dana Eveland, who's at least left-handed. Redding pitched last season in the minors for the New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies. In August he was released to pitch in South Korea.

??The Dodgers bullpen is in need of a second left-hander to go with Hong Chih-Kuo. The main in-house candidate is probably Scott Elbert, who left triple-A Albuquerque last season. Despite an encouraging performance in the Arizona Fall League.?

?Redding has mostly been a starter during his eight-year career. He looks like safety-value material, headed to Albuquerque and waiting to see if injuries befall the Dodgers' rotation.

Redding has pitched for five major league teams, most recently with the New York in 2009. He won 10 games with Houston in 2003 and with Washington in 2008. He has a career record of 37-57 with a 4.95 ERA.

Kemp-Erihanna kaput
If gossip magazines like Us Weekly are accurate, Matt Kemp and his famous singing girlfriend Rihanna have broken up.

This should come as welcome news for many Dodgers fans who believed Rihanna was the reason Kemp regressed last season.

There wasn't much evidence for this theory, other than A+B must equal C. Kemp wasn't spotted out at clubs with her into the wee hours of the night, or in the recording studio early in the morning with her, or any other activities that would indicate he wasn't getting his rest.

In fact, in mid-December Kemp was maintaining his all-day workouts in Arizona, when he could have been jet-setting around the world as Rihanna promoted her most recent album, "Loud."

For whatever it's worth, there was a quote in Us Weekly from one of Kemp's pals that said he was "sick of always following after her like a puppy dog all over the world."

In fact, with her tour schedule and the demanding baseball travel schedule last year, they rarely saw each other. Most of their relationship was over the phone. (One of Kemp's best games was the Dodgers' home opener, when Rihanna was in the stands.)

Still, when an athlete has a down year and he's dating a high-profile celebrity, that's the natural knee-jerk reaction of sports fans. Just ask Tony Romo. Dodgers fans were no different.\

In this regard, Rihanna is in a lose-lose situation with Dodgers fans.

If Kemp enjoys a bounce-back season, many will think it's because he's no longer with her and will believe they were right all along. If Kemp puts together a similar disappointing season, fans will still think Rihanna ruined him in that one year.

If Kemp does return to his Silver Slugger-winning and Gold Glove-winning form of 2009, it more likely will be because of getting humbled last year, being in the final year of a contract (although still two more years away from free agency), the departure of former coach Larry Bowa, and the presence of Davey Lopes (best friend of Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart) as baserunning coach.

Kemp's mood, or state of mind as a single man again, won't be known until spring training. He enjoyed some of the spotlight thrown at him by dating Rihanna but was reluctant to discuss his relationship with her other than to say they were good friends having a good time.

As the season wore on, he grew far less trusting of reporters, thinking anybody was out to sell a story to the gossip magazines.

Now he doesn't have to worry about that. He just has to worry about regaining his status among the best in the sport.

Dodgers to Open at Home
ESPN wanted the Dodgers to open the season in San Francisco March 31 -- instead of at Dodger Stadium against the Giants on April 1 as scheduled -- but the players union apparently interested in moving the season opener to San Francisco, forcing the teams into an extra travel day.

The Dodgers-Giants season-opening four-game series will now start on March 31 at Dodger Stadium.?

?So instead of the Dodgers hosting the Giants in the season opener April 1 as previously scheduled, they will host the Giants a day earlier.?

?Under the current proposal, each of the series' games would be pushed back one day, leaving the Dodgers with an off day on Monday.

Under. The current plan, the Giants would get to have their celebration at their previously scheduled home opener April 8 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

--INF Chin-lung Hu, who was out of options and unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, was traded to the New York Mets for minor league pitcher Michael Antonini. Hu was the Dodgers' minor league player of the year in 2007. He's an above-average middle infielder but was never able to hit in the majors. In 173 career at-bats, Hu's slash line is .191/.241/.283 with 38 strikeouts. Most of the at-bats came in 2008, when he forced into the starting shortstop role with Rafael Furcal injured. This opens the door for Ivan DeJesus Jr. to earn an Opening Day job with a good spring.

--LHP Michael Antonini will be 25 next year and has spent four years in the minors, reaching Triple-A twice (briefly each time) but never the majors. He's been mostly a starter (84 games started, 12 in relief). His minor league ERA is 4.04, and he has posted a respectable 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings. Antonini is likely headed to Triple-A Albuquerque to start, but with only one lefty in the bullpen, Antonini could make his mark in the bullpen sometime in 2011.

--LHP Clayton Kershaw married his high school sweetheart this offseason and is accompanying her on a January mission to Africa. The former Ellen Melson graduated in May from Texas A&M, and this will be her fifth trip to Africa. Two-thirds of the population in Zambia lives below the national poverty line, and the couple will be spreading goodwill to orphans.

--RHP Octavio Dotel, whom the Dodgers acquired on July 31 from the Pirates and traded to Colorado in late August, was signed by Toronto.

--Bill Lajoie, who built the 1984 Tigers into a world championship team and was recently a special assistant to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, passed away recently. He was 76.

--The Dodgers are contemplating working out free agent Eric Chavez, despite a report in the San Francisco Chronicle that a workout has already been scheduled. Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman, is 33 and coming off four years of injuries, primarily to his shoulder and back. He hasn't played more than 90 games in a season since 2006. He has spent all 12 seasons of his Major League career with Oakland, having just finished up a six-year, $63 million contract. If healthy, Chavez could be anything for the Dodgers from a challenger to Casey Blake at third base to a left-handed pinch-hitter and possible backup corner infielder, although he has played only two games at first base.

--Milwaukee signed RHP Takashi saito to a one-year. $175 million contract and the Rangers signed free agent 3B Adrian Beltre to a 6 year, $96 million contract. --The Brockton Rox of the independent professional Can-Am League announced that 22-year major league veteran Bill Buckner will be the club's field manager for the 2011 season. In a career that spanned from 1969 to 1990, Buckner played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels and Kansas City Royals. Buckner, 61, made appearances in the World Series with the Dodgers in 1974 and the Red Sox in 1986, and was a 1981 N.L. All-Star. After his retirement, Buckner served as a hitting coach with the Chicago White Sox from 1996 to 1997. The native of Vallejo, Calif., was a second-round choice of the Cubs in the 1968 draft out of Arizona State University.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7.5 -- Amount, in millions, that left-hander Ted Lilly will be paid in 2011. His three-year contract is heavily back-loaded, which a lot of teams are doing, in particular the Phillies with Cliff Lee. Lilly will get paid $12 million in 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "One night, I was kind of like the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (movie) guy. My 9-year-old and 7-year-old helped out, too -- so it was a full family deal. It was a riot. I had a blast." -- Third baseman Casey Blake, in the Des Moines Register. Blake still lives in his hometown of Indianola, Iowa, and in February he donated $1 million to the Indianola school district and challenged the community to match it. The haunted house was part of fundraising efforts. Blake also was host to a two-day baseball camp at Indianola's Simpson College.

The Dodgers' days of throwing money at the best free agents appear to be over, and there's very little help at the upper levels of the minor leagues ready to contribute.

ARRIVALS: RHP Matt Guerrier (free agent from Twins), INF Juan Uribe (free agent from Giants), RHP Blake Hawksworth (trade with Cardinals), RHP Jon Garland (free agent from Padres), C Dioner Navarro (free agent from Rays), OF Tony Gwynn (free agent from Padres).

DEPARTURES: C Russell Martin (free agent, signed with Yankees), LHP George Sherrill (free agent, signed with Braves), INF Ryan Theriot (traded to Cardinals), INF Chin-lung Hu (traded to Mets), C Brad Ausmus (retired).

FREE AGENTS: RHP Jeff Weaver, OF Reed Johnson, OF Scott Podsednik. Johnson is unlikely to return. Podsednik declined an option year and will seek an everyday job elsewhere. Weaver wants to play one more season, and while he was more injury-prone and inconsistent this year, he's a cheap bullpen arm.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: 1B James Loney, RHP Chad Billingsley, LHP Hong-Chih Kuo.

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