Kuo, Dodgers Off to Arbitration

Reliever Hong-chih Kuo and the Dodgers have failed to reach an agreement team regarding his salary for the upcoming season. The lefty had requested $3.075 million in annual pay while he was offered $2.55 million. The final number will probably be decided in an arbitration hearing, according to a statement released by Kuo's new agency.

  The team exchanged salary figures with arbitration-eligible Kuo on Jan. 18 local time, a deadline set by the Major League Baseball. If the two sides are still unable to reach a consensus by the end of Feb. 19, the MLB will hold an arbitration hearing, at which arbitrators will decide Kuo's salary based on the figures proposed by his agency and the Dodgers. Kuo earned $975,000 in his first chance at arbitration last winter.

The final salary us expected to surpass his countryman Chien-ming Wang of the Washington Nationals, who was given a base salary of $1 million and a chance to earn another $4 million in incentives, after he spent the entire 2010 season rehabilitating a shoulder injury.

Kuo has undergone four surgeries on his elbow but in 2010 had his best season, becoming the first Taiwanese player to earn a spot in the All-Star Game, he finished with three wins, two losses and 12 saves in 56 appearances.

He holds the Dodgers franchise record of the lowest ERA (earned run average), finishing the season with an ERA of 1.20. He also has an amazing 73 strikeouts in 60 innings.

Pitchers Minicamp
The Dodgers are holding their second "Young Guns" pitching minicamp this week at the Camelback training complex. The voluntary camp opened Monday, with 10 pitchers from the Major League roster expected. They are Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Kenley Jansen, Blake Hawksworth, Scott Elbert, Travis Schlichting, John Ely, Jon Link, Javy Guerra and Luis Vasquez. Of those, Kershaw, Billingsley, Elbert, Link and Ely participated last year.

The group will be joined by most of the top pitching prospects on the Minor League side -- among them Rubby De La Rosa, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Josh Lindblom.

Major League pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said each pitcher will be scheduled for two or three bullpen sessions. Honeycutt will be joined by Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell, as well as Minor League pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves and staffers Jim Slaton, Chuck Crim and Matt Herges.

Gordon MLB Top Prospect
Shortstop Dee Gordon is among the top shortstop prospects in baseball, and is ranked No, 4 according to mlb.com. Gordon, who is expected to play at Albuquerque this season.

The son of former big league pitcher Tom Gordon successfully made the jump from Class A to Double-A in 2010 and went to the Futures Game. He's a tremendous athlete and has plus speed that's allowed him to steal 126 bases over the past two years.

Last year at age 22 he hit .277, scored 86 runs on 154 hits and led the franchise with 10 triples and 53 stolen bases, getting thrown out 20 times.

Experts estimate that 2012 might seem to be the earliest Gordon would reach the majors, with a starting job perhaps a year after that. Others suggest that he might eventually move to center field but that path seems blocked by Trayvon Robinson.

If Gordon smoothes out out his fielding, the Dodgers could have their first homegrown shortstop in ages. José Offerman was the last homegrown middle infielder to make the team (2000) and Steve Sax was the last homegrown middle infielder to start five years or more.

Hartsfield, Beringer Die
Roy Hartsfield and Carroll Beringer, coaches on Walt Alston's Dodgers staff, passed away in recent days.

Hartsfield, who coached for the Dodgers from 1969-72 as part of a 19-year run in the organization, died in Georgia at the age of 85. He played three years in the Major Leagues for the Boston Braves and was traded to the Dodgers for Andy Pafko. He managed in the Minor Leagues before joining Alston's staff. He also went on to become the first manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Beringer, believed to be the first Dodgers bullpen coach from 1967-72, died in Irving, Texas, at the age of 82. Beringer later coached with the Phillies in a 33-year baseball career that included 142 wins and a 2.98 ERA in the Minor Leagues, although he never pitched in the Major Leagues.

Non-Roster Invitees
The Dodgers list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training includes:

Ron Belisario, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Scott Elbert, John Ely, Jon Garland, Javy Guerra, Matt Guerrier, Blake Hawksworth, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Hong-chih Kuo, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jon Link, Carlos Monasterios, Vincente Padilla, Travis Schlichting, Ramon Troncoso and Luis Vasquez.

Rod Barajas. E.J. Ellis, Hector Gimenez, Dioner Navarro.

Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll, Ivan De Jesus, Rafael Furcal, John Lindsey, James Loney, Russ Mitchell, Juan Uribe.

Andre Ether, Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, Jamie Hoffmann, Matt Kemp, Trayvon Robinson, Marcus Thames.

Broadcasters Honored
Dodger broadcasters Vin Scully, Rick Monday and Fernando Valenzuela were honored with awards at the 20th annual Southern California Sports Broadcasters (SCSB) Awards Luncheon. Dodger broadcast partner KCAL/KCBS was recognized as was former Dodger and current KCAL host Eric Karros.

  Scully, a member of the SCSB Hall of Fame, was chosen as the best Radio Play-by Play announcer by the SCSB for the 13th time. He has also been awarded the Television Play-by-Play winner 10 times and the Sportscaster of the Year, Broadcaster of the Year and Baseball Play-by-Play Award numerous times. Scully will return in 2011 for an unprecedented 62nd season broadcasting Dodger games.  

  Monday, who is also in the SCSB Hall of Fame, was honored for Radio Color Commentary by the SCSB. He previously was given the "Chuck Benedict Founders Award" by the organization. 2011 marks Monday's 18th season as a Dodger broadcaster and 26th season overall with the team, including eight as a player.  

  Valenzuela, who enters his ninth season broadcasting Dodger games this year, was elected as the Best Foreign Language Broadcaster by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters. This is his second such honor, as he also was recognized in 2006.  

  KCAL/KCBS was recognized as having the top television anchor staff and Karros was honored for his work co-hosting KCAL's pregame show, Think Blue TV.  

  The Southern California Sports Broadcasters today announced a total of nine winners in categories of radio and TV sportscasting as voted upon by its members. The organization is in its 53rd year in Los Angeles and current and former Dodger broadcasters Vin Scully, Jaime Jarrín, Rick Monday, Don Drysdale, Ross Porter and Jerry Doggett are all members of the organization's Hall of Fame.