Spring Training Notes #5 - February 18

On the final day before the first full-squad workout tomorrow, it was business as usual for the Dodgers as Groups 1 and 2 returned to the mound for their bullpen sessions. There are now just 46 days until Opening Day, April 6, when the Dodgers visit PETCO Park to take on the San Diego Padres.

  Pitchers Eric Milton, Ramon Troncoso, Jason Schmidt, Chad Billingsley, Edgar Martinez, Carmen Cali, Stephen Randolph, Shawn Estes, Jesus Castillo, Justin Orenduff, Jacobo Meque, Victor Garate, Erick Threets, Brent Leach, Jeff Weaver, and Nick Debarr all tossed their third ‘pen of the spring.    

Dodger reliever Cory Wade will be shut down for a few days with inflammation is his right shoulder. Catcher Russell Martin's foot is feeling much better, while right-hander Travis Schlichting's back continues to keep him out of action. Right-hander Ronald Belisario is the lone pitcher to have visa trouble this spring and has still not reported to camp, but is expected to arrive on Friday.      

The Dodgers would like to welcome Special Assistant to the General Manager Lee Elia to Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Elia managed the Cubs (1982-83) and Phillies (1987-88), going 238-300 (.442) over nearly four seasons. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.  

Most recently, the Philadelphia native held three positions with the Mariners in 2008, starting off as the Special Assistant to the Manager, before becoming the hitting coach and then finally, the bench coach.  

Elia, a former shortstop with the White Sox, was signed by Phillies' scout Jocko Collins, the same exact scout that signed Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda years earlier. Lasorda and Elia managed against each other 48 times from, with the Dodger skipper getting the best of his NL East counterpart, 26-22.     

Dodger infielder Mark Loretta reported to camp today and tried on his Dodger uniform for the first time since signing a one-year contract in December. Loretta, who is slated to be the backup shortstop, first, second, and third baseman, hit .280 while collecting 11 pinch-hits with the Houston Astros last season. The Southern California native is a two-time All-Star (2004, '06) and finished second in the Major Leagues with 208 hits during the 2004 season.        

Dodger non-roster invitee Scott Strickland is a recognizable name to some, but is still looking to work his back into a Major League game for the first time since 2005, when he appeared in five games for the Houston Astros. Prior to that, Strickland was a key cog and part-time closer for bullpens in Montreal (1999-2002) and the New York Mets (2002-03).  

The right-hander missed a large part of the 2003 season and all of 2004 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Last year, Strickland anchored a strong bullpen that led Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre to its first International League Championship in franchise history.     

The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch – Glendale boasts 118,000 square feet of Major and minor league clubhouse space. The Major league clubhouse is obviously open for business and the minor league digs are slated to open its doors tomorrow afternoon.   

Season Tickets, Mini Plans, and single-game tickets for 2009 Spring Training games at Camelback Ranch – Glendale are on sale now. Fans can purchase Spring Training tickets for Dodger home games by going to dodgers.com or by calling 480-784-4444. The first-ever game at the Ballpark at Camelback Ranch – Glendale is just 11 days away.

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