Dodger Inside Report - November 23

Spring training in Vero Beach may never be the same for the Dodgers. With ground having been broken at their new spring training site in Glendale, Ariz., the Dodgers could very well be saying goodbye to Vero Beach once they pull up the stakes on their 2008 spring ritual. Or not.

There is a chance that they could be returning to their Florida home in 2009. And then there is the possibility that the Dodgers' next spring session could be a condensed version.

Since it took so long for Glendale, Phoenix, Arizona, Dodgers and White Sox officials to get together for the groundbreaking, builders have just 18 months to complete the new facility. The Dodgers and White Sox will eventually split a 141-acre facility that will feature four major league fields, eight minor league fields, two practice fields and a stadium designed to hold 13,000 fans.

But can it be done in the time allotted?

"It will be done, no doubt," said HKS Inc., architect Morris A. Stein. "We've got to do a heck of a lot of work. We all do. But we'll be done. We've got a great construction team that is really on top of this."

The builder has a deadline of Dec. 17 to inform the city of Glendale if the project can be completed in time. If it can't, the Dodgers will spend the spring of 2009 back in Vero Beach. Needless to say, Vero Beach officials would like to have an answer as quickly as possible so that they can move forward in their efforts to land a new team.

The Dodgers will hold their spring training in Vero Beach next spring, but there is some question as to how long that will last. Major League Baseball is waiting for the go-ahead from the Chinese government to play two exhibition games -- between the Dodgers and Padres -- in China next spring. If that happens, the Dodgers might play a few games in Taiwan, against Taiwanese teams, before returning to the U.S.

"I don't think they're 100 percent certain," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. "Out of respect for the Chinese government, we're all waiting so that this can all be worked through the administrative channels. We're taking a wait-and-see attitude, and we'll see what happens."

Since the Players Association is frowning on the possibility of the Dodgers going to the Far East, returning to Florida, and then flying cross-country to start their season, the Dodgers could return from China and finish out the rest of their exhibition-game schedule in Phoenix.

The A's might provide the Dodgers with a temporary home since they'll be leaving their facility early in preparation to start the 2008 season in Japan.

Notes and Quotes
--3B Andy LaRoche went 2 for 5 in the championship game of the World Cup and finished the tournament with a .333 batting average, helping Team USA win the championship. Team USA beat Cuba, 6-3, in the gold-medal game.
--OF Delwyn Young went 2 for 5 and scored a run as Team USA beat Cuba, 6-3, in the championship game of the World Cup, in Taipei. Young batted .194 in the tournament, but four of his six hits were doubles.
--RHP Justin Orenduff was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster after going 0-1 with a 4.41 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. Orenduff was 8-5 at Class AA Jacksonville last season, his first in the Dodgers' organization.
--RHP Cory Wade's stock continues to rise in the Dodgers' organization. The 25-year-old pitcher went 7-0 with a 2.45 ERA at Class A Inland Empire before being promoted to Class AA in 2007. He just completed his stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings, earning a spot on the Dodgers' 40-man roster.
--OF Juan Pierre might have to get used to playing in left field, especially after Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said that he is interested in free agent center fielders Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones.

By the Numb3rs: .001 -- The increase in OF Juan Pierre's on-base percentage from 2006 (.330) to 2007 (.331). It was his highest OBP since 2004.   

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