Spring Training Notes #2 - February 15

Dodger pitchers and catchers today went through Day 2 of workouts at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Dodger hurlers had four work stations: comebackers, covering first base, holding runners, and bunting defense. Each rotation lasted 15 minutes. Pitchers in Groups 3 and 4 threw off the mound for the first time this spring.

    Those in Group 3: Randy Wolf, Claudio Vargas, Scott Elbert, Clayton Kershaw, Eric Stults, and James McDonald, as well as non-roster invitees Brian Mazone, Charlie Haeger, and Travis Chick.  

Those in Group 4: Jonathan Broxton, Greg Miller, Guillermo Mota, Hong-Chih Kuo, Travis Schlichting, and Cory Wade, as well as non-roster invitees Scott Strickland, Tanyon Sturtze, and Yhency Brazoban. Pitchers in Groups 1 and 2 will throw again tomorrow.   

Dodger third baseman Casey Blake walked into the Camelback Ranch – Glendale offices shortly before 8:00 a.m., reporting two days early. The Iowa native on December 9, 2008 signed a three-year contract through the 2011 season with a club option for 2012.   

He batted .251 with 10 homers and 23 RBI in 58 games with the Dodgers in 2008 after being acquired from Cleveland on July 26. Also paying a visit a few days early were outfielders Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre, and Jason Repko.   

The Dodgers have welcomed to big league camp minor league catchers Esteban Lopez, Jesse Mier, Matt Wallach to help with the pitchers' bullpen sessions. All three will join roughly 40 other minor leaguers for early workouts on the minor league side of camp beginning Friday.   

Minor League camp officially opens March 7 with the first workout for pitchers and catcher.  Lopez, who was selected by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2006 draft, played with Single-A Inland Empire in 2008.  

Mier, who was born in Fontana and attended Mater Dei High School, split last season with Rookie-advanced Ogden and Single-A Great Lakes. He was selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2007 draft.   

Wallach is the son of Triple-A Albuquerque manager Tim Wallach. Matt played with Ogden in 2008 after wrapping up his collegiate career at Cypress College (2005-06) and Cal State-Fullerton (2007). He was selected by Los Angeles in the 22nd round of the 2007 draft.   

As part of his Global ambassador duties for Major League Baseball, Tommy Lasorda has been traveling to each host city of the 2009 World Baseball Classic to promote the upcoming tournament.   

Lasorda is currently in Mexico City where he hosted a youth baseball clinic, signed autographs, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Liga Olmeca, a Mexican youth baseball league. He also visited a local hospital and the Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento, an elite Mexican sports academy.   

He also dined at the home of Carlos Hermasio, Mexico's Minister of Sports.  Lasorda is also planning on visiting Toronto, San Juan, Miami and Washington D.C., where he will be a guest of Ambassador Fujisaki of Japan.  Lasorda has either played or managed in 14 of the 16 countries participating the World Baseball Classic.   

Speaking of baseball around the globe, nearly one third of the 61 players in big league camp are international-born.  There are 19 players in camp representing six foreign countries.   

The list: Canada (Russell Martin), Dominican Republic (Tony Abreu, Yhency Brazoban, Rafael Furcal, Hector Luna, Jacobo Meque, Guillermo Mota, Ramon Troncoso, and Claudio Vargas),  Japan (Hiroki Kuroda and Stephen Randolph), Mexico (Jesus Castillo and Juan Castro), Taiwan (Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu), and Venezuela (Ronald Belisario, Victor Garate, Luis Maza, and Edgar Martinez).   

Do note, Ivan DeJesus Jr. was born in Puerto Rico, which is a territory of the United States.   

Dodger Spring Training invitee Brian Mazone was signed to a minor league deal on December 20, 2008.  The left-hander was born in Mission Viejo, and raised in Encinitis, where he attended San Dieguito Academy High School.   

He played his college ball at the University of San Diego from 1995-98, and was a First-Team All-West Coast Conference selection in 1996 and 1998.  Mazone now resides in Cardiff with his wife Amber and sons Braden and Blake.   

The 32-year-old is well traveled in baseball circles, having played in the independent leagues in St. George, UT (1999-2000) and Joliet, IL (2002-04). He also played part of the 2007 season with Samsung of the Korean League.   

Mazone last year was a mid-season Triple-A International League All-Star with Philadelphia's Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate, where he went 9-12 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 starts.   

A quick shoutout to Manager of Team Travel Scott Akasaki, who has served as the Dodgers' liaison to the local crew Camelback Ranch – Glendale during this transition period. Scott has worked diligently over the last few months to ensure a safe and on-time arrival of the Dodgers' operation here at Camelback Ranch.   

A quick shoutout also goes to Information Technology's Angel Medina and Alex Romero, both of whom were on site for yesterday's opening.   

By the time club personnel began arriving at 5:45 a.m., wireless Internet was up and running without issue. Printers were installed shortly thereafter, and the Public Relations and Baseball Operations Departments were fully functional.   

Marco White and his staff have been nothing short of exceptional in getting the complex ready for everyone's IT needs.  

The Camelback Ranch – Glendale complex, which covers 141 acres, had its official groundbreaking ceremony on November 19, 2007.  That marks a construction timetable of just 15 months.  

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