Dodgers Spring Notes - March 11, 2011

Chad Billingsley takes the mound for his third Spring Training start today. The right-hander has posted a 1.35 ERA and a .231 opponents' batting average with only one walk in 6.2 innings this spring. Billingsley will be followed by the stingy bullpen of RHP Blake Hawksworth, RHP Kenley Jansen and RHP Javy Guerra, who have combined to allow just one run in 8.2 innings this spring.      

A 3-2 BACKDOOR SLIDER: The Dodgers begin a tough weekend stretch with five games in five cities over three days with this afternoon's contest against the Athletics. Over the three-day weekend, the club will send squads to Phoenix, Surprise, Scottsdale, Glendale and Las Vegas.  

ROSTER ROUNDUP: Today, the Dodgers optioned right-hander Luis Vasquez to minor league camp, reducing the number of players in big league camp to 57 (27 pitchers, 30 position players).  

  FLASHBACK: Yesterday, the Dodgers dropped an 8-2 decision to the Padres at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Clayton Kershaw continued to sparkle, allowing an unearned run on four hits over 4.1 innings in his third Spring Training start. Juan Uribe stroked an RBI double in the first inning and Marcus Thames doubled and scored in the second inning to account for the Los Angeles scoring.  

  START ME UP: Through 14 Cactus League games, Dodger starters have posted a miniscule 0.92 ERA (4 ER/39.0 IP). The Dodgers' projected front four starters of Clayton Kershaw (0.00 ERA, 11.1 IP), Chad Billingsley (1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP), Ted Lilly (2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP) and Hiroki Kuroda (4.15 ERA, 4.1 IP) have posted solid springs with Kershaw tying for the Cactus League ERA lead. In three appearances (two starts), John Ely has tossed 6.0 scoreless frames and held the opposition to a .095 batting average (2-for-21) with seven punchouts. Non-roster hopeful Tim Redding has made the most of his spring opportunities and has yet to allow a run in 8.0 innings over three games (two starts) this spring.  

  WHAT HAPPENS HERE, STAYS HERE: The Dodgers announced a renewed partnership with The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) just in time for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. showdown with the Cubs at Cashman Field. Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will get the start against the Cubbies with projected Opening Day starters Rod Barajas, Rafael Furcal, Jay Gibbons, Matt Kemp and James Loney expected to make the trip. Sunday marks the Dodgers' second straight season playing a Spring Training game in Las Vegas and sixth overall appearance (2001-03, 2006, 2010) in the city. The Las Vegas 51s were the farm club of the Dodgers for eight seasons from 2001-08. Sunday's game will be called by Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully as part of a triple-header featuring the Dodgertown Classic on PRIME TICKET and the regular Spring Training game at Camelback Ranch.  

  THE NEWEST DODGER: Congratulations to Juan Castro and his wife Yadira on the birth of their second child last night. The sure-handed infielder has been given the day off and is expected back at Camelback Ranch tomorrow. Another new face at Camelback Ranch is RHP Steve Jackson, 29, signed as a free agent. He pitched for Pittsburgh briefly the last two years, recording a 2-3, 3.14 record in 2009 and an 0-1, 8.47 in 2010.  

  GONE CAMPING: Registration for the 2011 Dodgers Youth Baseball Camp presented by Kaiser Permanente is now live at www.dodgers.com/camp. The camp, which is open to boys and girls ages 7-12, will feature daily instruction by members of the Major League coaching staff with special guest appearances by current and former Dodger players. Two separate four-day sessions will be offered (July 5-8 and July 25, 26, 27 and 29) with all proceeds benefitting the Dodgers Dream Foundation.  

TOMORROW'S PITCHERS> With two games on the roady, Ted Lilly draws the start against Kansas City in Surprise. Others scheduled to pitch include Jon Huber, Ron Mahay and Ramon Troncoso. Tim Redding will start against San Francisco in the second game of the split squad schedule. Other to follow include Roman Colon, Oscar Villarreal and Travis Schlichting.

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