Dodgers' Coaching Carousel Spins Again

The Dodger offense, stuck in neutral in recent years, will have yet another batting coach to get accustomed to after Don Mattingly bowed out to take care of family business. Mike Easler will take over his spot on the Dodger staff.

They haven't finished higher than eighth in the National League in runs scored only once since 2000. Heavy night air doesn't help anything hit into the air at night in Dodger Stadium, but on the other hand, the foul territory has been cut down so much that it has to counteract that and statistics seem to say it is now a hitter's park.

And then their is the hitting coach factor.

Easler became the Dodgers' fourth hitting coach since last June and eighth since opening day 2000. Included on the list have been Rick Down, Jack Clark, George Hendrick, Tim Wallach, Eddie Murray, Bill Mueller, Mattingly and Easler.

Easler was scheduled for his second tour of duty as the Las Vegas hitting coach after working with the Jacksonville Suns for a year. He was the Cardinals hitting coach 1999-2001 an served the Milwaukee Brewers (992) and Boston Red Sox (1993-94) in the same capacity.

There is no question Easler knows how to hit. During his 14-year Major League career he had a .293 average, 118 home runs and 522 runs batted in with the Astros, Angels, Pirates, Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies.

The constantly changing message had to confuse hitters. The hopefully Easler will have going for him the fact that he is experienced and worked with many of their young hitters in the minors.

Lo Duca to Have Operation
Washington Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca, one of the more popular players in Dodger history was scheduled to have surgery on his left knee Monday to repair what his agent called a minor meniscus tear. Lo Duca's agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, said: "Paul will have surgery on what I am told is a minor meniscus tear." Lo Duca, who signed a $5 million, one-year deal as a free agent this offseason, hurt himself during a workout last week and then had an MRI. He will turn 36 in April.

New Scoreboard in Vegas
The Las Vegas 51s will feature a "new" scoreboard that will include a "video board" for the 2008 Pacific Coast League season at Cashman Field. Construction on the "new scoreboard" at Cashman Field began on Tuesday, January 22 and completion is expected by the end of March. The scoreboard will feature a stationary section that will display the "line score" that includes Runs, Hits, Errors, Score-by-Innings, Balls, Strikes, Outs. The main feature will be a "video board" that will measure 15 feet by 36 feet.

New Coaches For 66ers
John Valentin (not Jose who played for the Dodgers) will be the Inland Empire Manager in 2008 after spending 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Red Sox and Mets. In 1995, he was the American League Silver Slugger winner at shortstop and is the only player in major league history to hit for the cycle and turn an unassisted triple play. The Sixty-Sixers will have Henry Cruz as their batting coach after spending last season with the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League. Cruz played in the Major Leagues for four seasons with the Dodgers (1975-76) and Chicago White Sox in the ‘70s. The Virgin Islands native helped guide the Raptors to a .281 team batting average, which was third best in the league. This will be Cruz's second year in the Dodgers system after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians

Loons Host All-Star Celebration
The Great Lakes Loons will host the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game held at Dow Diamond on June 17, 2008. Included will be The All-Star FanFest, The Hometown Hitter and The All-Star Home Run Derby. The FanFest is a three day event, June 15-17 and visitors can take part in a multitude of events such as live concerts, skills challenges, photo opportunities and exhibits about our national past time. The Home Run Derby will take place on Monday, June 16 and will feature eight Midwest League All-Star sluggers. In addition, one local high school student-athlete will qualify in the weeks and months leading up to the Derby to compete against the pros. 

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories