Dodgers' Hawksworth Undergos Elbow Surgery

Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth underwent a minor surgical procedure to remove scar tissue and shave down a bone spur in his right elbow. Hawksworth is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. He should be pitching at some point in spring training and could be on the team's opening-day roster.

Tony Jackson of ESPNLA reported Hawksworth likely will begin his spring training throwing program slightly behind the rest of the team's pitchers, but because he is a reliever, he will need less time to catch up.

Hawksworth, who will turn 29 on March 1, made 49 appearances for the Dodgers last season, posting a 4.08 ERA and allowing 10 of his 20 inherited runners to score. He was acquired the previous winter from the Cardinals or infielder Ryan Theriot. He is entering his fourth major league season.

Barring further injury to himself or injuries to other relievers, Hawksworth will go to spring training as one of six pitchers who have secured spots in the Dodgers bullpen, joining closer Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal and Matt Guerrier.

Several candidates would compete for the final spot, with Josh Lindblom possibly a slight favorite in a field that also includes non-roster veterans John Grabow, Wil Ledezma and Alberto Castillo; prospects Michael Antonini and Nate Eovaldi, who was in line to be the Dodgers' fifth starter until they signed veteran Aaron Harang; and Ramon Troncoso, who struggled last season.

Let the Bidding Begin
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Wednesday approved a settlement between the Dodgers and Fox Sports that clears the way for the sale of the team. The settlement ends a contentious legal battle between the ball club and Fox.

"The agreement with Fox clears the path for the Dodgers to sell the team on schedule and to maximize the value of the debtors' estate," Dodgers attorney Sid Levinson told Judge Kevin Gross.

This sets the stage for a bidding war so spirited that outgoing owner Frank McCourt believes he might fetch double the previous record price for a franchise set when the Cubs sold for a record $845 million in 2009.

Bidders Continue to Appear
Initial bids for the team are due by Jan. 23. Among potential buyers who have expressed interest in the team are groups that include former Dodgers players Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey, former team manager Joe Torre, former owner Peter O'Malley and former general manager Fred Claire plus Magic Johnson and Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten.

OMG! News Corp.'s Fox unit joined the battle to buy the Dodgers, signing a nondisclosure agreement with bankers handling the sale of the storied baseball franchise, according to people with knowledge of the process.

The move formally makes News Corp. a potential bidder for the Los Angeles team, and it is the latest indication that the company, which owned the Dodgers from 1998 to 2004, plans to do whatever it can to hang onto the team's valuable media rights.

Tom Barrack, a former USC rugby player who launched a real estate fund that has expanded into international sports and entertainment investments, is interested in pursuing the Dodgers.

Barrack heads Colony Capital, a Santa Monica firm that controls $34 billion in assets, according to Forbes. Barrack's interest was confirmed by two people familiar with the matter but not authorized to comment.

As the Jan. 23 deadline for opening bids approaches, the Dodgers have offered stadium tours to prospective owners.

Dodger Blue Notes
--RHP Mike MacDougal's contract is a one-year deal for a guaranteed $1 million. The 35-year-old former All-Star was signed to a minor league contract last year and made $500,000. MacDougal will make $650,000 this year. The Dodgers hold a 2013 option for $2.35 million and a buyout of $350,000.

--SS Dee Gordon has spent the winter working out with Barry Larkin, the former Reds' great. Gordon's father, Tom "Flash" Gordon, played with so many teams, you might assume he was teammates with Larkin. But they weren't. Gordon played for eight teams, yet never the Reds, and Larkin spent his whole career with the Reds.

--RHP Vicente Padilla, limited to nine relief appearances last season because of injury and still a free agent, might not be on the market much longer. Padilla is close to signing with the Miami Marlins. The Dodgers are not believed to be pursuing Padilla.

--LHP Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have not begun discussion on a long-term contract. Kershaw still has three years of arbitration remaining before he becomes a free agent for the first time.

--3B Josh Fields signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers, an under-the-radar signing that could be intriguing. Fields, who will be 29 this season, was last seen in the majors with the Royals in 2010, when he hit three home runs in 49 at-bats. Last year, Fields posted a slash line of .365/.429/.674 in 50 games at hitter-friendly Triple-A Colorado Springs. The other half of his season was a struggle with Yomiuri in Japan, where he struck out 32 times in 109 at-bats and had a .202/.241/.312 slash line.

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