Spring Training Notes - March 22, 2011

HERE COMES THE SUN: The Dodgers play the Cubs for the third and final time this spring after losing both of their previous two matchups. The Dodgers' unbeaten streak came to an end last night as Los Angeles fell 3-0 to the Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs over 5.0 innings and Mike MacDougal and Kenley Jansen both tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

        ROSTER RUNDOWN: This morning, the Dodgers reassigned right-hander Oscar Villarreal to minor league camp. The club now has 20 pitchers and 21 position players remaining in Major League camp.    

DIFFERENT GLOVES: Don Mattingly penciled in a slight wrinkle to today's lineup with Hector Gimenez making his first appearance of the spring in the outfield and Jay Gibbons sporting a first baseman's glove. Gibbons has appeared in 89 Major League games at first base, including three last year with Los Angeles, while Gimenez has appeared in the outfield only three times in his minor league career.   

HURLERS: Right-hander Chad Billingsley will make his fifth start of the spring this afternoon and second against the Cubs after allowing two runs (one earned) over 3.2 innings on March 6 in Mesa. Billingsley has fanned 11 batters in 15.0 Spring Training innings and ranks sixth in the NL with 551 strikeouts over the last three seasons. 2010 All-Star Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso, Travis Schlichting, Lance Cormier and Scott Elbert will follow Billingsley to the mound today. Right-hander Ryan Dempster (1-0, 2.00 ERA) will make his second start of the spring against Los Angeles after holding the Dodgers to one run on three hits over 4.0 innings on March 6 in Mesa.  

  LEADERBOARD: Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp leads the club and is tied for fourth in the Cactus League with four homers. Kemp also leads the club with 14 hits, 12 RBI (7th, Cactus League) and 31 total bases. Elsewhere, outfielder Tony Gwynn's six steals are tied for third in the Cactus League and Clayton Kershaw's 2.86 ERA ranks ninth.    

FAMILY CONNECTION: Dodger infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. will hope to continue his impressive spring this afternoon in front of his father, Ivan De Jesus Sr., the Cubs' third base coach. The younger De Jesus is batting .297 with two doubles and two RBI in 19 Cactus League contests this season. There's also a family connection in the third base coaching box for Los Angeles as Tim Wallach's son Brett is a pitcher in the Cub organization after being traded last season from the Dodgers, while another son, Matt, is a catcher with the Dodger organization.   

SWITCHEROOO: Today's Dodger starting lineup features a trio of switch-hitters with Rafael Furcal, Hector Gimenez and Eugenio Velez. With the added flexibility of these three plus switch-hitters Aaron Miles, Dioner Navarro and the reliable bat of Kenley Jansen in camp, the Dodgers have a chance to have six switch-hitters on their Opening Day roster. The Dodgers had eight switch-hitters with a plate appearance in 2006, when Navarro was first with the team, while the club had just two last year.   

ON THE TUBE: Yesterday the Dodgers announced their 2011 broadcast schedule with approximately two thirds of games on television on PRIME TICKET and one third on KCAL 9. The team will open their season with a national prime time broadcast of their March 31 game against the Giants on ESPN to be followed by a national telecast on FOX on Saturday and again on ESPN on Sunday night. Today, Eric Collins and Steve Lyons will call their first game of the spring on PRIME TICKET.     

HALL OF FAME HONOR: Last night, Dodger Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín received the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) Foundation's 2011 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award (The AMEES). AFTRA is a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcasters working in the entertainment and news media. Jarrín was awarded an AMEE award along with "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh and recording artist David Crosby.   

ALWAYS A DODGER: Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe and "Sweet" Lou Johnson spoke to the Major League club this morning during its morning meeting. Newcombe and Johnson are two of the many former Dodgers that have stopped by Camelback Ranch this spring to work with the club including Tommy Davis, Rick Rhoden, Darren Dreifort, Steve Yeager, Ramon Martinez and Maury Wills, who mans Maury's Pit on a daily basis. Newcombe will be further honored by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before today's game against the Chicago Cubs.   

HIGH NUMBERS: Nine minor leaguers will dress with the Dodgers today including Sunday's eighth-inning home run heroes Corey Smith (96) and Jaime Pedroza (87). The rest of the minor leaguers in uniform today include Kyle Russell (90), Blake Smith (94), Orlando Mercado (93), Justin Sellers (72), Wilberto Ortiz (89), Josh Walter (97) and Will Savage (95).   

SPOTTED YET AGAIN: The Dodgers would like to wish Special Advisor, Player Development Ramon Martinez a very happy 43rd birthday today as he enters his second season in the Dodger front office. Martinez played 11 seasons in Dodger blue from 1988-98 and ranks seventh on the club's all-time wins list with 123 and is sixth on the franchise's all-time strikeout list with 1,312.  

TOMORROW'S PITCHERS: Ted Lilly will make the start against Colorado in Camelback Park.