Uniforms Will Have Names in 2007

At a press conference to introduce newly acquired Randy Wolf and Juan Pierre, the Dodgers also introduced their new uniforms for 2007 complete with player's names on the back. A decision to go retro two years ago came just when the roster was being changed almost hourly and backfired on the club. Respodning to the clamor, the names are back again and you won't need a program to identify your hero.

Vin Scully, who'd lobbyed for the names to come back, will be thrilled when they were introduced on Vin's 79th birthday.

"I like it a lot," Randy Wolf said. "Going to Dodger Stadium, I always knew I had good tickets when I could read the names on the back of the uniforms."

No Place Like Home-- Philadelphia catcher Mike Lieberthal grew up in Southern California and his hoping to follow his teammate Randy Wolf back to Dodger Stadium.

A number of different sources report the 13-year veteran would be happy to serve as backup to Russell Martin, and the Dodgers seem interested. However, the Friday deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents must pass without the Phillies making an offer to Lieberthal (who has made $7.25 million to $7.5 million each of the last four years) or the Dodgers would owe the Phillies a high draft pick.

Second, Lieberthal after being sidelined with an assortment of injuries in 2006, must pass a physical. He missed 95 games with bad back, a strained hip and a pulled stomach muscle that needed surgery to repair. He seems to be a prime target for the new medical department to keep healthy.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti could not comment on negotiations with Lieberthal who has played for the Phillies his entire career. He has a ,275 career batting average with 150 home runs and is a two-time all-star.

The Phillies are unlikely to offer Lieberthal arbitration because if he accepted it, he could be awarded a salary in the neighborhood of $4 million.

The Dodgers are trying to trade their current backup catcher, Toby Hall, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at midseason and made $2.25 million. Hall is eligible for arbitration, but announced when he stepped off the plane at LAX that he was not a backup catcher and wanted to play somewhere else.

Colletti is attempting to accomodate him.

Hall of Fame Ballot--Four Dodgers are on the Hall of Fame ballot -- Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Eric Davis and Orel Hershiser -- that reporters who have been in the Baseball Writers Association of America for 10 or more consecutive years are eligible to vote, with the totals will be announced Jan. 9.

Tony Gwynn, an eight-time batting champion with San Diego, and Cal Ripken, a two-time MVP with Baltimore, are odd-on favorites to gain election on the first ballot. Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig's record.

Jim Rice, who was 53 votes short of election last year, heads the 15 holdovers. Rich Gossage finished one vote behind Rice.

The complete ballot:
Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Dante Bichette, Bert Blyleven, Bobby Bonilla, Scott Brosius, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, Tony Fernandez, Steve Garvey, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Orel Hershiser, Tommy John, Wally Joyner, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Paul O'Neill, Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Bret Saberhagen, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Devon White, Bobby Witt.