Injuries Start to Pile Up for Dodgers

The Dodgers return to Peoria Sports Complex this afternoon for their second and final Spring Training game with the Padres. San Diego manager Bud Black will give the ball to 29-year-old right-hander Dustin Moseley and he will face Clayton Kershaw. The two clubs open their 18-game regular season schedule on Friday, April 8 with a three-game weekend series at PETCO Park.

     FINAL TUNEUP: Clayton Kershaw will have his final spring tuneup against the Padres this afternoon before taking the hill on Thursday for his first-career Opening Day start against the Giants. At an age of 23 years, 12 days, Kershaw will become the youngest Dodger Opening Day starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1983, who took the hill at 22 years, 5 months, 4 days. Kershaw will also become the first lefty to make an Opening Day start for the Dodgers since Valenzuela's final season-opening start in 1988, which opened the club's march to a World Series title.  

  INJURY UPDATE: Tim Redding was forced to leave yesterday's game in Tucson three batters into his fourth inning of work with a sore back. He is listed as day-to-day. C Dioner Navarro was scheduled for an MRI on his sore right side after getting scratched from the March 24 game. If he is forced to open the season on the disabled list, the top options to back up Rod Barajas would be Hector Gimenez and A.J. Ellis. --INF/OF Eugenio Velez, in camp on a minor league contract, hurt his right ankle near first base while trying to beat out a bunt, according to MLB.com. Velez was taken off the field on a cart. The utility man was non-tendered by the Giants in December after hitting .164 in 29 games for San Francisco last season. He is 5-for-30 (.167) through 18 games this spring. --LF Jay Gibbons is hopeful his vision problems have cleared up after leaving camp for two days (March 15-16) to visit an eye doctor in San Francisco. Gibbons had Lasik surgery in 2004, then a cleanup in the offseason. He was wearing a contact lens that kept popping out of his eye, including during at-bats. He was fitted for a new contact in his left eye, and he will go without a contact in his right eye.  

THE CREW IS ALL HERE: The Dodgers will have the full squad together for their final five games of the exhibition season and have gone 12-9-1 with the full squad this spring. The Dodgers will play their Camelback Ranch finale tomorrow against the Indians before returning to Los Angeles for the Freeway Series with the Angels and a game against the Mariners at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.  

ELITE (THIRTY) EIGHT: This morning, the Dodgers optioned John Ely and reassigned infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez to minor league camp. In addition, Ron Mahay was granted the release of his minor league contract. The Dodgers are now down to 38 players in big league camp, including 18 pitchers and 20 position players.  

LIKE NIGHT AND DAY: The Dodgers dropped both split squad games yesterday, losing 6-3 to the Diamondbacks in Tucson and getting shut out 6-0 last night by the Mariners. The proceeds from the Tucson game benefitted the Tucson Together Fund, which is the only officially sanctioned fund established to assist victims, families, and witnesses of the Jan. 8 tragedy in Tucson. One of the victims was a member of the Dodger family as Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year old daughter of Dodger scout John Green, lost her life in the tragedy. Individuals interested in making a donation can visit www.tucsontogetheraz.com.  

THE ‘PEN: Jonathan Broxton is slated to follow Kershaw this afternoon and will look to build on his solid spring. Despite the 5.68 ERA, Broxton has tossed scoreless relief in six of his seven Cactus League appearances and limited opponents to a .190 batting average (4-for-21). Also expected to pitch today are Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Lance Cormier, Scott Elbert, Travis Schlichting and Ramon Troncoso.  

YES HE KEN-LEY: Kenley Jansen struck out one in 2.0 innings of scoreless relief last night for his longest outing of the spring. The 23-year-old, who is entering only his second full season as a pitcher, tossed 2.0 innings in four relief appearances last year. Jansen has posted a 2.00 ERA (2 ER/9.0 IP) and a .219 opponents' batting average with 10 strikeouts over eight appearances this spring.  

IVAN TO GET A HIT: Dodger infielder Ivan De Jesus played the entire game at second base last night at Seattle and has continued to swing a hot bat, hitting .455 (5-for-11) over his last three games.  De Jesus is batting .340 on the spring and has played a team-leading 84.0 innings at second base, 22.0 innings at third base and 9.0 frames at shortstop in his bid to make the Dodgers for the first time. The native of Puerto Rico was the Dodgers' 2008 Minor League Player of the Year and last season, hit .296 in 130 games for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes.   

LEADERBOARD: Matt Kemp's five Spring Training home runs are the most for a Dodger during the spring slate since Andre Ethier slugged six in 2008. Kemp is tied for the Cactus League lead in homers and is also tied for fifth on the circuit with 15 RBI. Not to be outdone, Tony Gwynn Jr. is tied for third in the league with six stolen bases and Clayton Kershaw finds his name among the leaders in ERA (2.86, 10th) and innings (22.0, T-9th).  

START THE COUNTDOWN: The start of the 2011 campaign is only five days away and Thursday's contest will mark the tenth time in L.A. Dodger history that the club will open the season against the Giants, and the seventh at Dodger Stadium. Included in those previous nine games, is the first game in Los Angeles Dodger history (4/15/58) and the first game of Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda's managerial career (4/7/77).  

MORE HISTORY: Thursday marks the first time in Los Angeles Dodger history that the club will begin the season against the defending World Champions. In 1996, the Dodgers hosted the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves for the club's home opener, but they began that season a week earlier in Houston. Since the World Series began in 1903, the only other time the Dodgers faced a defending World Series winner on Opening Day was April 12, 1922 when the Brooklyn Robins started the season at the Polo Grounds, facing the New York Giants.  

THEFT DOESN'T PAY: Yesterday, Dodger catchers threw out both would-be basestealers as Hector Gimenez threw out Arizona's Justin Upton and Rod Barajas cut down Seattle's Milton Bradley. Overall, Dodger backstops have caught 15 of 38 potential base-stealers (39%) this spring, a noticeable improvement from the 25% the Dodgers posted in the 2010 regular season.  

TOMORROW'S PITCHERS: Ted Lilly will start the split-squad double-leader against the Angels while Chad Billingsley will oppose the Indians at Camelback Park.  

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