Rafael Furcal, ss Casey Blake, 3b Andre Ethier, rf Matt Kemp, cf Juan Uribe, 2b James Loney, 1b Marcus Thames, lf Hector Gimenez, dh Rod Barajas, cThoughts while waiting for the game to start: The Dodgers could almost populate a league of their own with just the players and coaches they had in the dugout. No less than 58 were in uniform. ...Casey Blake answered, at least temporarily, the question of who manager Don Mattingly would bat in the second slot. Surprisingly, Hector Gimenez was the designated hitter and catcher Rod Barajas batted ninth.
John Ely started for Los Angeles and made a strong case for his inclusion in the starting rotation in the absence of Vicente Padilla. He allowed only a one-out single in the first inning while working two frames and striking out three. He left the game leading 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, the club announced that Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider had died in California. There was a moment of silence in Camelback Ranch park and then a round of applause in his honor.
The game, under bright Arizona sunlight with the sky dotted with fleecy clouds and with the beautiful Estrella Mountains peering over the right field wall, didn't seem quite the same after the announcement.
Mike MacDougal, Blake Hawksworth, Kenley Jansen, Ramon Troncoso followed with shutout innings. Jon Link, who came to the Dodgers in the same deal that brought Ely, pitched two blanks and Juan Rincon came out of the minor league side of camp and finished the Angeles off with a hitless ninth.
The pitchers were as stingy with their pitches as they were with their runs. Ely and Link allowed 15 and 14 in their two innings. Troncoso made seven (all strikes) Hawksworth nine, Jansen 12 and Rincon used 13.
The staff was helped by a spectacular diving stop from shortstop Jamey Carroll in the seventh. He flipped the ball to Ivan De Jesus at second and his quick relay to first ended the inning with a double play. And a diving catch by Jamie Hoffmann in left field cut off a potential double to open the eighth.
Much of the Los Angeles offense came in the first two innings. Matt Kemp singled in a pair of runs in the first inning after Rafael Furcal had led off with a single and Casey Blake doubled him to third. Kemp was then promptly picked off first base.
In the second, James Loney beat out an infield hit, Marcus Thames singled him to third and Gimenez sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
Catcher Rod Barajas lined a home run onto the left field berm in the fifth, the first round-tripper of the spring, and Jamey Carroll walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball and scored on Xavier Paul's fly in the eighth.
Selig Denies FOX Loan to McCourt
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has rejected a proposal under which Fox would have lent about $200 million to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, three people familiar with the discussions told Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. According to the story, McCourt would have used the Dodgers' cable television rights as collateral, extending the team's current contract with Fox by as many as four years if he did not repay the loan, according to the individuals, who were briefed on the proposal but who are not authorized to discuss it. Selig made his decision several weeks ago. Since then, McCourt has continued to explore financing options that would enable him to satisfy the commissioner and manage a debt that, according to court records, exceeded $430 million as of November 2009. Selig has indicated he might approval of any minority investor or broadcast contract proposed by McCourt. The commissioner last year rejected a proposed TV deal between Fox and the Texas Rangers, one that would have eased the severe financial burdens on Tom Hicks, then the Rangers' owner. The team ended up in Bankruptcy Court.
Dodger Blue Notes-- While new manager Don Mattingly didn't appreciate the outcome of the game (an 8-3 loss to the Giants), he was pleased with the Dodgers fundamentals displayed. ...LHP Scott Elbert, who left Albuquerque on June 9 because, he says, he was having trouble dealing with the pressure of a Major Leaguer, has will work exclusively out of the bullpen from now on. "It's easier to throw 15 pitches per day than 110, 120 every fifth day. I like to throw every day and relief suits me well. ...Vicente Padilla, who underwent surgery on his throwing arm on February 24, has returned to Camelback Ranch to begin his rehab and says he hopes to be pitching again for the Dodgers on May 1. ...As expected, former Dodgers manager Joe Torre has accepted a job with Major League Baseball. His title will be executive vice president for baseball operations, a job that Torre says "fills the bill--no question about that." He will oversee on-field discipline, umpiring and other areas. ...Outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., thinks that the inevitable comparisons to his father's Hall of Fame career has been somewhat tough on him. However, now people are asking him "How's your father?" Tony, Sr., has cancer of the paritoid gland. ...The Montreal apartment that baseball great Jackie Robinson called home in 1946, his first season in previously all-white Major League Baseball, is being officially recognized by the U.S. government. U.S. diplomats, Montreal's mayor and Robinson's daughter are expected to attend a ceremony Monday as a commemorative plaque is unveiled at the residence. ...From Tony Jackson, ESPNLA, talking to Dodger hitting coach Jeff Pentland talks about James Loney. "It's not getting the ball to leave the yard, but getting Loney's bat into the relatively small hitting zone more quickly" that Loney and Pentland have been working on not only since the start of spring training, but basically since the end of last season. Loney flew to Phoenix from his home in Houston twice this winter for extra work with Pentland at the team's Camelback Ranch facility. "In order to hit the ball in that certain area, it's really difficult. James probably isn't as consistent as he needs to be at getting his bat to that spot. What he needs to do is put the bat head in a better position so we can add some sharpness to the ball. I never tell guys to swing for the fence. I want guys to hit the ball hard consistently. If they do that, there are going to be times where they catch it just right and it's going to go out of the ballpark," Pentland said. ...Mike Scioscia, who caught for the Dodgers over XX seasons, is only 20 wins shy of joining 55 other Major League managers in the 1,000 win club. That is probably why he is signed through 2018.